Your Current Busines Principles
For your business to give you what you ultimately want, you will have to create something practical and attractive to others, regardless of what business you are in. This rule applies equally to all businesses regardless of their market or stage of development.
If you are to do more than create for yourself a job that requires you to spend all of your time working for your business, you will have to build an enterprise that can operate like a machine, where the crank will keep turning even when you’re not there to turn the handle yourself.
Many people in business find doing this very challenging because they don’t start their business development process with this objective in mind, and that I am afraid is a mistake. It would help if you started building the business you ultimately want from the get-go and from the ground up from day one. That doesn’t mean you have to complete it all on day one. This is not an excuse to distract you from generating the revenue you need to survive and thrive. Nonetheless, you should constantly invest your time and effort into constructing your ultimate business, the machine.
That is why we must turn our attention to C1 Cadence. I think this is a great word to describe the rhythm of your machine, your business. It is a rhythm that is created by first and foremost creating and then maintaining the right mindset for your business and, in particular, its leadership. we will be looking at this in more detail during the remainder of this section, but for now, I want you to think about the culture you wish to develop to attract the right people to your business, the principles you work to and how they contribute to this objective.
The rhythm that I talk of starts with you. This means you need to think, act, and communicate the right way; while it starts with you, it ends with the principles you design and implement in every aspect of your business. These principles need to be transparent and used by all those who work in and on your business.
These principles are the building blocks for the culture of your business. There is no doubt that these are influenced by the way you think, feel and act, and that is why it is so essential to work on getting and then maintaining the right mindset. Work on your guiding principles before you work on your machine.
In the real world, this may well be a challenge; nothing that is worthwhile will ever be easy. Put the effort in now, even if you are already well established. It is rarely too late to start putting things right.
Please start this process by taking some time to consider your founding principles as they are at this moment in time. I say this moment in time because they are bound to change as you develop your business and progress through the 7C’s program.
Your Business Principles – An Example
I want to give you something to help you, as you will soon be asked to think about and doucment your current business principles. I have no doubt that as we progress through this program these will be changed added to and developed beyond where they are today.
Cadence requires you to develop the right culture within your business. Culture in your business will come predominantly from you and the principles you live and work by. Later, and assuming you build a company that is capable of working for you, rather than you working for it, others will become involved. Their input may well contribute to the evolution of your business’s culture and core values.
Notwithstanding all that, I am convinced that the best way to design and bring life to your vision for the future is to base the dream on the principles you hold dear to you. I want to introduce you to some of the principles I work to in an attempt to encourage you to understand and or develop your working principles and culture.
“Your emotions need to be aligned to your logic, or your logic aligned to your emotions to make better decisions; principles will help achieve this.”Chris Batten author The 7 C’s of Why
Principle 1 – Keep an eye on today and the future.
To be truly successful, we need to be balanced in all things and our understanding of the relationship between the past, the present and the future. The reality is we can only do one thing about the past: learn from it. You, yes you, can find all the answers you need when it comes to developing your business in the lessons of the past learnt from others and your own experience. Learning in this way allows you to be firmly based in reality.
All you can do is live your best life based on two related and important factors when it comes to the present. These are the lessons of the past and the journey to the future. The journey you are on is split into what you do today and what you learn from yesterday.
Therefore, it doesn’t take much to work out that if you fail to learn and do what needs to be done, all you will achieve is to burn the time that you will never get back. To grasp the reality of the situation, understand the now and commit to learning, commit to doing, and then design your future.
If you do this along with all the other principles, you will be creating for yourself a life well lived with a future that was not predicted but invented by you and those you choose to surround yourself with if you have blood running through your veins, that is one exciting prospect!
The relationship I want you to exploit between the past, the present and the future will allow you to make significantly more progress and smarter decisions. That is providing that you remember one important factor.
“You will become what you think about most.”Various Authors over the ages.
There is something so exciting once you embrace the reality in conjunction with the vision and then commit to designing the bridge that brings them together. That, in essence, is your life’s work, so let’s get on with it. Done correctly, this is going to stretch you, which means that you will make mistakes. That is fantastic because that is how you are going to learn, come up with new inventions, innovations, that is how you encourage true creativity in your business. The key is to accept the pain of failure and focus on the pleasure of learning. This is best achieved when you have a truly realistic view of the present, and your foundations are indeed set in the real world, but with a picture of the future and what it takes to get there today.
As your business grows and you bring others into the fold, it is very important that they have the same approach to maintain consistency and equilibrium.
I have already briefly mentioned the importance of keeping one foot on the ground at all times and keeping an eye on the future, which should be primarily focused on your vision. There is no doubt in my mind that the combination of dreams and reality, added to bucket loads of determination, will result in a more successful life. It is essential to understand the relationship between cause and effect.
Of course, what success will look like will depend on the individual. We all have our picture of what success for us looks like. The key is to decide what it is you value and then choose the path that will take you there.
As time passes, you will realise that getting more out of your life is not just a matter of working hard or harder, it is very much about working effectively. I say this because working effectively can and will increase your overall capacity. Working effectively is very much about the relationship between your dreams and reality and your steps to turn your vision into that reality.
Create a culture in your business that keeps a keen eye on reality and understands what it takes to create the future described in the business vision.
Ideally, from the moment you start, or as soon as you can, which may require some habit changes, you need to be promoting in your business a culture that accepts the reality and works toward the future.
- The best way to achieve this is to promote a mindful approach to work. Let the mindfulness habit into your own life first to help you remain grounded in reality and then pass this technique onto others working with you.
- Focus on the truth and gain an accurate understanding of reality without losing touch with the vision for the future.
- Work to this equation and get those around you to buy into it too –
Dreams + Reality + Determination = Success.
Principle 2 – Always Have An Open Mind
When we first come into the world of running our own business, we have no idea what the truth is, and so we will either discover it for ourselves, or we will believe and follow others who seem to have the answers. All you have to do is decide which road you’re going to take.
You need to apply a little humility here and not assume that you are always the best persons to decide for you, because the harsh reality is, in many cases, you are not the best person. While you may well know what you want and let’s be frank, it is indeed up to you to decide that. Others may be in a better position to tell you how to get there. They may have more appropriate knowledge or greater experience than you. This is where it is so important to learn from others—saving yourself time, money, effort and mitigating the loss of opportunity.
This is why it is so important to be open-minded. Closed minds do not accept external ideas and help; that is a big mistake. The more open-minded you are, and the more transparent you make yourself to others, the more rapidly you can learn and effect change. The more open-minded you are, the less you will deceive yourself and the more likely it is that others will give you honest candid feedback, which you need to progress with speed. There is a downside to this, but that downside is far outweighed by its advantages. The downside is that by being more transparent, you will open yourself up to more criticism from those around you, particularly the habitual naysayers.
My advice is to go with it and don’t let fears of what others may say about you stand in the way of your development. Your day will come, and they will no longer criticise you but look up to you with admiration for what you have achieved. Learning to be this open-minded and transparent is not easy, and many shy away from this, either for fear of opening themselves up to the criticism we have spoken of or because it is simply too tricky. They shy away from it in the same way many shy away from public speaking.
Learning to be fully open-minded is a little like learning to public speak, because like public speaking, you may initially fear it and feel awkward, but then you will soon discover, the more you do it, the better you become. Don’t get hung up on your views of how things should be because you will miss out on learning how they are. In this regard, you need to be more analytical than emotional. This is where the development of your EQ comes into play. Your most significant barrier to this, and for that matter any of the culture tips I talk about, is how well you recognise and then control your emotions. To be truly open-minded you will need to have control over your ego and not let it sabotage the learning opportunities and the opportunities to consider a full range of options that may be introduced to you by others.
In reality, you may well have the best idea; you may have already found the best option. The question is, how will you know unless you give real consideration to a full range of options and they do not all have to come from you. When you make assumptions, seek evidence to support them, then ask the question can I find evidence to support or refute this option I am considering?
Create a culture in your business to promote open-mindedness and transparency and encourage learning from others.
Develop your EQ and self-awareness so that you can recognise your emotions and how you are feeling. Learn to control the feeling so that you can listen and fully consider alternate views and lessons before making your ultimate choice.
- Do not let the fear of what others may think about you stand in your way.
- Introduce feedback and how it is delivered and received as a standard practice in your business.
- Consider using internal mastermind groups to brainstorm and encourage free thought and ideas relating to the progression of your business.
- Promote learning and, in particular knowledge from the experiences of others throughout the business and outside the business.
Principle 3 – Understand People Are Not All The Same
Understanding that people are different seems so obvious; of course, people are different, we are all individuals with our own personalities. This is one of those things that everyone will agree with, nod their head and then do nothing with it. I want you to be different in this regard.
I want you to truly understand the importance of those differences and how they can positively or negatively impact your business. I want you to know that you have the power in your hands to decide if the effect is good or bad; it truly is your decision. That is why it is so important to acknowledge that people are different and plan around that fact. Plan and select with care to create the business you desire.
If people are different and will fit into different character types, then it follows that they will respond to different things. What one person treats as an incentive might for another be a complete turn-off! A job that fits one person will not fit the other no matter how much loyalty or love they have for the brand. As Jim Collins says in his book ‘Good To Great, you need to make sure your people are on the right bus and in the right seat; only then can they and your business experience the progress you desire.
If they, the people you select, do not fit, that is not their fault; that is yours. If you understand people are different and then do all you can to recognise their strengths and weaknesses, placing them in the right place at the right time with the right people, rather than building issues for the future, you will be making a cohesive team.
Some people like detail, others like the big picture, some like to work toward goals; some like to work away from problems. Your role is to make sure you place the right people on your bus and ensure they are in the right seat. That is not always a once-only task; people change and develop, so you need to have regard for that within the culture that you are building.
Your Job is to understand that not everyone learns in the same way, to realise that not everyone wants the same thing, not everyone will feel incentivised by the same reward. People perform the best when they feel like they have their individuality but remain part of a team when they feel valued and get value. The greater your understanding of the difference, the more you will achieve for yourself and them.
To give you a more than a fair chance, I urge you to learn from my experiences and invest in personality testing. When you get a good handle on what makes your people tick, it can change the game and significantly improve team selection, coaching, mentoring and staff turnover. We have invested heavily in personality testing within the Rainmakers Club so that our members can take full advantage of these valuable tools.
In the first few businesses, I worked with as either the founder or CEO, I have always taken this part of the job very seriously. So seriously, in fact, I went to the trouble of designing our tests and selection processes in the later years. These proved so successful that later a Search & Selection business took the approach to new levels and turned them into their key differential. I cannot think of a better compliment than That for my original system.
When I look around some years later, I see that this is still used to differentiate; only now it is being used by many more businesses in the sector. Regardless, I want you to understand that the key is not first past the post-selection techniques used by many in the recruitment sector, but a slow and deliberate selection that has its foundations in a solid vision and culture. An image and culture that the outside world will find attractive, that your team will find beautiful and that will bring people, the right people, to you like the moth to the flame. Please remember that when I talk about selection, I refer to internal and external, for employees and those you may outsource to.
Create a culture in your business that promotes the needs of the individual. That takes time to align personal needs with shared goals, corporate and private.
This work should start at the very beginning of your planning and execution. That is not always the case. While the sooner you start, the better, it is never too late to start.
- Design a selection process that looks into identifying the best people for you, your team and your business.
- When selecting, do not just select for you or the role; select for the team.
- Introduce regular performance and coaching reviews. These are not just for employees but anyone who can influence the machine.
- Spend time understanding the individual’s goals and vision and align them to your own.
- Fully appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of the individual, the group and the company and select on that basis too.
Principle 4 – Be A Decision-Maker
This all sounds a bit obvious, you’re in business of course you are going to make decisions. You make decisions all of the time. This is more about how you go about making decisions. There are two things I want you to consider. The first is why some people avoid making hard decisions and then the best method for making a decision. What is not acceptable is doing nothing. Doing nothing is a large factor in business failure, and doing nothing comes down to you.
Leadership in business is all about decision making and we will deal with this in some detail later in the program.
When it comes to bringing this into the culture of your business, consider creating a system of decision making that gives regard to the stage of development your business is at. Also consider the need for alternate views and the opinions of others, who are suitably qualified and experienced to offer you value. Encourage alternate views and or evidence to support or refute the possible decisions open to you.
Procrastination is not an option. Avoiding making decisions to protect your position is not an option, nor is trying to make decisions on a democratic or autocratic basis. Understand the challenges that you are no doubt going to face in the various stages of development your business will go through. Understand that these will sometimes require a different leadership style.
The constant will be the need to make decisions and how you are seen in this regard by the outside world. It can make a significant difference to the support you gain as a leader, and as a business. You want to be taken seriously. If you build a reputation as a business that thinks rather than knee-jerk, that is a good thing. This approach brings with it its own value.
Create a culture in your business that promotes quality decision making, not based on anything other than a fully rounded approach. Have a culture that demonstrates that you do not make knee-jerk reactions but seek information and opinion so that each decision is considered and looks at a range of alternates first.
This task becomes so much easier if you have got the selection right, selecting the right people to surround yourself with will significantly improve the decision making and create the right culture.
- Choose with great care the people you surround yourself with and make sure that they have your ‘six’.
- When choosing your cohort make sure they are aligned with your core values
- Get into the habit of taking a time-out to consider alternate views, and listen without prejudice.
- Don’t let your own ego and position get in the way of doing the right thing.
- Never delay, make the tough decisions all business leaders have to make, you will gain the respect of others in this way.
Principle 5 – Your Business Is A Machine
Your business is actually two things, it is a machine, or at least I want you to treat it as such. It is also a living mechanism and depending on the status of your business actually has legal rights. So for example, if it is a limited company it has, to a certain extent, the same rights as a human but in this case, it is a human without a voice, ears or eyes. It is the directors that are the ears, eyes and voice of the company.
The two most important elements in your business are the people and the machine. The machine should be a well-oiled mechanism where all the parts are running smoothly together. When it comes to the people, it is the mission, culture of the business, the principles and values it works to that the people will be governed by.
If these are not a perfect fit and in harmony, then how can you ever expect the machine to work, let alone outperform all the other machines that you are racing against?
Your business should be planned, built and run by you and or your leadership team to operate effectively, even if you are not there, in fact, you not working in the business should be part of the design specification. You have a true business when it can work for you rather than you having to work for it all of the time.
To grow your business you need to treat it like a well maintained and oiled machine, everything working in unison with perfect timing. This is more difficult than it sounds, particularly in the early stages of development. I say this because during the creative stages of business you will, by default, be creating degrees of chaos.
The best option is not to worry about that, it is expected. Chaos is a part of the building process, but so too is building a business capable of creating exceptional and sustainable results for you and your stakeholders. Not forgetting that your stakeholders are anyone who has an interest and anyone who has an influence over your business, that really is everyone!
Build your business into a well-oiled machine with the culture and the people as the flywheel at the centre.
Create a culture in your business that promotes the use of quality processes and procedure as early in its growth as possible. The process allows people to learn and therefore improve.
Make sure you have your selection right and then we can turn our attention to building the machine.
- Design your business with a view to creating a ‘business in a box’, which means over time you will need to be documenting everything.
- Make sure the design has at its epicentre your core values and the ultimate vision.
- Work on minimum viable product and the test-learn-adjust until you get it right.
- Treat this as an evolution.
- Put your customer and team at the centre of this process and then make it all about them, everything else will link to this to create a well-oiled business of true worth.
Principle 6 – There is Nothing To Fear In The Truth
Nobody likes pain and so we tend to do all we can to avoid it. I have found that the same is true in business. Far too many people will avoid facing or speaking the truth about a situation so that the pain can be avoided. The problem is this ignores something that few give consideration to. That is the smoke screens we create, the untruths we deal in are significantly more dangerous in the long run than the truth.
It is far better to be open than closed. Integrity comes from the truth and integrity creates value and it is value in our businesses that we all seek and if that is not the case you might be in the wrong business and probably reading the wrong book too!
The combination of not fearing the truth and keeping one foot on the ground will certainly contribute to your business standing out from the crowd, as so few will do this in reality.
Having nothing to fear from the truth means that you will have that very rare element in business today, that of candour. If you add this to integrity you get a business that is not fearful of reality, not fearful of the truth and willing to maintain its integrity by playing the game straight.
There are many examples in the history of business where businesses have failed to embrace reality and the truth and suffered, as a result, catastrophic results. There are as many examples of the opposite where the end result of being open and truthful was an even bigger and loyal following.
The key is for you to have integrity and more than that demand it from others. Anything less is just not going to be good enough.
Create a culture in your business that promotes honesty, integrity, and a desire to be open and truthful. This leads to businesses and people working in and on them who are accountable and do take responsibility for their actions.
This work culture has to come from two places. The individual has to be honest and open as a natural tendency in the first place. The second and some would say most important is it needs to come from the very top of the business and filter down through each level.
- As the business leader, demonstrate openness and truthfulness from the start.
- Focus not on the blame game but on improvement and learning.
- Design candour and transparency into your business processes and reporting.
- Give everyone working in and on the business an opportunity to contribute their ideas and observations, without fear of overt criticism or ridicule.
- Introduce a system of feedback that is rewarded and focused on learning and improvement and in so doing encourage openness.
Principle 7 – Meaningful Work, Meaningful Relationships
When you finally understand that the need for meaningful work and meaningful relationships are actually built into our very DNA you begin to see the sense in promoting both these elements in the culture of your business.
The key to this is understanding that when we have meaningful work and meaningful relationships we respond by developing. We become healthier, happier, and more productive. That should be all the incentive you need to ensure that this simple but important step is included in your business culture.
It is the quality of our personal and social relationships that make the biggest difference to our happiness and therefore our performance. This then is why we need to ensure that we select our people with care. Every, and I mean every relationship you have inside and outside of work will, and does have an impact on how you perform and how you treat those around you.
This can be a very sobering thought when it comes to auditing the value of your personal and work relationships. Meaningful work comes from understanding what people are best at and like to do. Make sure they are on the right bus and in the right seat too. meaningful relationships come from knowing the people and embracing both their strengths and weaknesses.
Cohesive teams come from a number of elements including communication but they will also stem from having good relationships and meaningful work, this is not about it being meaningful in your eyes, although that is also a consideration. It has to be meaningful in their eyes and the eyes of their cohort.
Create a culture in your business that promotes respect for the importance of all the work that is being done from the bottom up. Promote a culture that rewards and encourages great working relationships based on teamwork and mutual respect throughout the roles and levels of the business.
You will never be successful without other people and when you understand this is the reality, you can then start to understand the importance of doing the following:
- Make sure each role has a detailed specification that can be compared with the skills, interests and motivations of the people doing them.
- For those that are not yet able to do what they really want to, create a path that shows them how to get to where they want to be.
- Promote communication and respect throughout the business at all levels.
- Spend time understanding the individual goals and vision and align them to your own.
- Fully appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of the individual, the group and the company and select on that basis too.
Principle 8 – It’s Okay To Make Mistakes & Slow Down
Imagine working for a business that made it clear that while they wanted your very best, they also acknowledged that mistakes are inevitable and they had the attitude that mistakes were okay as long as the lessons were learnt and it wasn’t anything other than a genuine mistake. How would that make you feel?
We are all human and that means we are all capable of getting it wrong, it goes with the job. It is also okay to slow down if you are unsure about something to prevent a mistake. Likewise stopping altogether to take stock is also good practice if it is safe to do so, and has the potential to avoid the error.
Think of it this way. many drivers who are always in a rush to be somewhere, react predictably if someone delays them by one car length by cutting in! You’d think it was the crime of the century. These same people when they see the amber traffic light appear, put their foot down to get through the lights rather than slow and wait for the red to change to green. They do this with no regard for the actions of others. It is okay to slow down for amber lights and check the road ahead. In case you meet your doppelgänger who is also an amber gambler. You leave it too late to slow and he accelerates too early. There will be only one outcome and it is reckless behaviour. Don’t be reckless with your business.
The alternative is a good quality training, a robust induction program, a robust and regular review program and encouraging people to think before they act. Not cutting corners has to be good for all involved. Add to this a culture where genuine mistakes are okay as long as lessons are learnt. A culture where all steps are taken to avoid such incidents through training and mentoring. A cohesive team that all support each other, that’s much better for all including the business.
Create a culture in your business that promotes checks and balances to mitigate error, but also has coaching, mentoring and a training program that is underpinned by a robust review process.
From the top-down, leading from the front promote responsibility and accountability for the actions of the individual. Promote tolerance for genuine mistakes that are seen as coaching and development opportunities.
- Design a selection process that really looks into identifying the best people for you, your team and your business.
- When selecting do not just select for you, or the role, select for the team.
- Introduce regular performance and coaching reviews.
- make it part of the fabric of the business to encourage accountability and responsibility, eradicate the blame game.
- Treat all mistakes, in the same way, to ensure the most positive outcome can be achieved as a result including the coaching process.
- Ensure all your team understand the risk touch-points and are trained on how to avoid them.
- Train those in leadership roles to recognise and mitigate work distractions and use personality testing to help identify areas of weakness.
Principle 9 – It’s Unacceptable Not To Learn
This is a little more controversial in some ways and is arguably part of the previous point that looked at making mistakes and learning from them. I could have simply said create a culture of learning. I feel though to say that is not strong enough. I do not feel it is enough to say that a business will promote learning. You can certainly lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink. It is far stronger to say that you have a culture where it is unacceptable not to learn.
I have made it clear in my own business that you should learn from mistakes, and where possible you should learn from the mistakes and experiences of others too. Even that is not enough in my view. What you really need to do is make learning an essential part of the business culture.
When you do this you are in fact creating an environment within your business that promotes creative thought, innovative ideas and a desire to improve all of the time. Learning then becomes essential and suddenly saying that it is unacceptable not to learn is the perfect phrase.
Of course, when mistakes are made it would be unacceptable for those, directly and indirectly, involved not to learn from the experience and so the principle fits like a dovetail joint to the previous point too.
Learning is not something that you do for a moment in time, for example learning from mistakes. Learning is a lifelong activity. As the world around us changes and as the market, we are in changes, as technologies are developed we have a need to learn. It is for that reason that I promote in my own business a culture that says not learning is simply unacceptable.
Create a culture in your business that promotes learning as a lifetime activity and where to not learn new lessons and to not learn from mistakes made by yourself and by others internally and externally is simply unacceptable.
Bring learning as an activity into your business at a very early stage in its development. Create messages and actions that make it clear from the start that learning is a must for all who work in and on your business, this must include you.
- Design, implement and promote a process of learning on the job.
- Promote a career path that offers the potential of advancement for all that join you to work in or on the business.
- Introduce into the business a mentoring program.
- Actively seek to allow team members to learn about other tasks to create a program of succession.
- Bring learning objectives into a robust and regular review program for all.
- Produce process and procedure manuals for team members to follow.
- Educate all team members so they have a full understanding of the other roles in the business.
Principle 10 – Get Some Balance & Stay In Balance
Success in business comes from working hard and working smart all of the time. This doesn’t mean, however, that we have to sacrifice our private lives. I am not a big fan of the phrase work/life balance. As this is not obtainable. I say this because work and life are part of the same equation and are interwoven in all of our lives. Many find their work enjoyable and therefore the work is part of their life. In fact, why would you spend the majority of your time working in or on something that was not fully engaging and part of the enjoyment in your life?
In this regard, when I talk about balance, I am in fact talking about balance in all things. To feel fulfilled and to feel true happiness you must create a balance in all that you do. Think about it in these terms. Your passion should be your work or the work you do should be your passion. You should be doing what you are passionate about, with people you want to spend time with.
If you are doing that you will find greater satisfaction, regardless of reward, it becomes its own incentive. If you are working to that passion, with the right people this in itself will give you balance. This balance can be significantly improved when you embrace the fact that we are not built to do just one thing without some variety.
The variety I speak of can come from simply taking time out for family and friends. So don’t take your work home with you. If you are one of the growing numbers working from home, don’t take the work out of the home office. During working hours take time out for rest, just short and frequent mindfulness breaks is all it will take to achieve the balance that will improve your performance and your emotional welfare. Do all you can to find time for friends and family.
Create a culture in your business that promotes a happy and stress-free environment, but maintains clear expectations and a professional outlook at all times. An environment that seeks to maintain a mindful and healthy balance for all those working in and on the business. As you develop your business assuming you’re involving more people who will be working either in and or on the business their performance and therefore the success of the business will be reliant on their welfare.
Ensure that you design and implement clear objectives for individuals and groups of individuals which are both challenging and achievable and then lead from the front, setting the pace and process for business development.
- Create a work environment that promotes focus and performance but at the same time-space to breathe, gather thoughts and maintain a healthy stress- free balance.
- Understand that being stress-free as far as possible does not mean you can’t create challenges that promote development.
- Promote active listening throughout the business and show empathy.
- Make timely decisions that have been well thought out and assessed. This is not an excuse for procrastination.
- Promote mindfulness and EQ development throughout the business.
Principle 11 – Get Beyond Disagreements
The most successful businesses promote candour, honesty, respect, review processes, creative and innovative thinking. They also encourage a learning attitude. By its very nature, this will lead to minor disagreements between individuals. I say minor because your processes and protocols (your checks and balances) will prevent major error and major disagreement from happening, or at least that is the plan, right? It is essential that the business and the people that make the business are able to quickly get beyond such issues.
It is important to recognise that as much as we know disagreements are going to happen, we also need to understand that when disputes are resolved it is very rare that they are done to the full satisfaction of both parties. So in terms of solution, a process needs to be designed that can be bought into by all and used by all. There can be no exceptions to this. The process needs to include a means of administering deadlock. This is usually the boss stepping in and making the ultimate decision based on a solid vision and reality-based decision making.
Creating a culture where people do not get angry but merely get their point across with passion, respect and consideration are what we are looking for. Conflicts cannot and should not be left unresolved. Sometimes the smallest of issues can grow out of all proportion if they are left. It is the leaders’ role to take action and not to avoid conflict for the sake of harmony, this is a false economy.
The principle is you should deal with it, deal with it early, don’t make it personal, don’t get angry and once a decision has been made everyone regardless of personal opinion needs to get behind it. Yes, even if you still disagree.
It is often the case that when considering conflicts you need to look at the situation from a higher plain, considering all the factors not least how both sides of the disagreement fit with the overall objective and vision of the business, that must remain the priority and often holds the answer.
Create a culture in your business that promotes open and quick resolutions to disagreements, a culture where the parties talk it through without anger, without personal insults but with mutual respect, and clear communication. When and if in deadlock the problem is passed up the line professionally and jointly for decision. No office politics, no gossip, no bullying. Teamwork is paramount.
Promote candour throughout the business, create the expectation of candour and encourage regular feedback and constructive criticism delivered with mutual respect and empathy.
- Create a program of EQ development for everyone from the top down.
- Lead the way by demonstrating the right communication skills with all of your team working in and on the business.
- Design and implement a company-wide process for dealing with all disagreements, that is in line with the core values of the business and a reflection of the culture of the business.
- Get into the habit of being candid but respectful and aware of feelings and create the expectation that others must follow your lead
Principle 12 – Who Is More Important Than What
Many people in business get things the wrong way around, possibly because it is marginally easier that way but more probably because we are tribal to our core and all follow the majority. This may well work for many things but what if we are all following a process that is flawed? Who will be brave enough to break ranks and start a new trend to follow? The answer is us, you and I.
It is simply done; All we have to do is understand that the who will always be more important than the what. So, rather than focus on the what focus on the who first. Be the business that allocates tasks and responsibilities based on who is best to do the job and then set to work on the task.
Be the business that has all the right people in all the right seats. It makes for an easier, smoother and more successful outcome for all.
You will be putting a lot of time effort sweat and heartache into building your machine, the least you can do is ensure you have the right people caring for the machine and all its components.
The most important factor for this to work to your advantage is to first understand that selection is your biggest priority. We have all heard the many business commentators and advisers telling us for years that we should surround ourselves with those who are better at the jobs that need to be done than we are. All you need to be is the best leader.
Later you will look for someone who can do this better than you. At that point, you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour, but for now, it is all about leading learning, adjusting and getting it right.
Create a culture in your business that has focus on the ‘who’ over the ‘what.’ Be known as the business that ensures that you have the right people working in and on your business, making sure they are all on the right bus and in the right seat.
Understand that the ‘who’ is more important than the ‘what’, the person given the task of operating the machine (part of your business) needs to be the right person and that is far more important than the ‘what’ at this stage.
- Focus on personality, culture, core values and attitude over technical skills. I say this because technical skills are far easier to teach and develop than the right attitude.
- Build succession as a feature throughout the business. This means that as part of the learning culture you create the expectation that people should be helping those below to increase their knowledge. Concurrent to that they should be learning about their own advancement. Teach your Job to those below and learn the job of those above.
- For those that are yet to start hiring or outsourcing this is the time to build the processes and procedures to prepare for the expansion.
- Use your published core values to help you create a pen-picture of the people you want and need to be working in and on your business.
- Create a robust and clear training and coaching program for all, including yourself.
Principle 13 – Always Select With Care
We mention this in a number of areas in this book. You need to select the people you surround yourself with, using great care. I appreciate that you can do nothing about the family you have. But you do have complete control over everyone else. Avoid at all costs toxic relationships and perpetual naysayers, not to be confused with appropriate candid feedback.
Be aware that when we talk about selecting with care this is not restricted to those working in and on your business but also the people in your wider community and circle of friends and acquaintances.
Having already agreed that your mindset is the single most important factor in the creation of the success you desire, it makes perfect sense that you should do all you can to ensure that all that hard work is not put at risk by listening to or being influenced by the wrong people.
Once you have sorted this out with your own personal network and inner circle, you should look to share your knowledge and experience in this subject with others so that they too can follow your lead.
Ultimately this will result in all those people working in and on your business, now and in the future seeing a marked improvement in their consistency of mindset. This in turn will improve their performance and the results they attract.
As with anything that is intangible, it is far too easy to let this point slide and that would be a mistake. make it part of the culture of your business to work and associate with the right people.
Create a culture in your business that is people-centric and focuses on the right kind of people to help with the maintenance of good quality relations and the maintenance of the right mindset.
This is achieved with a combination of personal commitment from all involved in working in and on the business current and future. As well as leadership from the front to demonstrate this and all other principles to create the right culture for the business.
- Have a clear picture in your mind of the ultimate vision and objectives and understand what this means in terms of the people you need around you and their contribution.
- Understand that not all contributions will be direct but the indirect and out of hours interactions can still have a major impact on performance.
- Include in your diary time for mindfulness or contemplation, to help maintain the right attitude, despite the actions of others that may be contrary to your welfare.
- Learn to recognise the perpetual naysayers who are not constructive and create some distance or disengage totally for your own protection.
- When it comes to your team seriously consider using profiling tools to help you understand how others think so that you can have a greater understanding and mentor their weaknesses.
- Get yourself some good quality mentors who understand you and your business
Principle 14 – Train, Test, Evaluate
People and your machine will need to evolve and this evolution will work best in a learning environment that embraces continuous professional development in the form of training, testing and evaluation. The reality is the faster you can get the people working in and on your business to evolve, the faster the outcomes you gain from your business improve.
This should start from the get-go with a frank assessment of strengths and weaknesses and a program for development that places the person in the right place to perform. This should be present and upfront in the selection process, induction and regular review. In that way, everyone can improve their knowledge, understanding and performance.
It is not possible to create a clear career path for people if you are not aware of their strengths and weaknesses and indeed not aware of how they will initially evolve. I can think of many examples where the people I have personally worked with, have developed and as a result, improved significantly.
An essential part of the individual evolution is the constant and relevant feedback they receive to help them with their understanding and development. As the old saying goes give a man a fish and you feed him for the day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
Make the process of training, testing and evaluation a challenging but enjoyable one. We are here only once and spend the majority of our time working, so I think we deserve to enjoy the process. Of course, this becomes so much easier if the people you are dealing with are truly passionate about what you are asking them to do. That is a big clue when it comes to selecting new people to join.
Create a culture in your business that encourages education, training with assessments and testing as a norm. A culture where people are encouraged and assisted to grow and evolve into the best version of themselves that they can possibly achieve. It is good for you, good for your business, good for them and good for the world.
You can achieve this by making sure that you first embrace the culture of training, testing and evaluation. This is something you should already be doing, the fact that you have this book is a great indicator that your on the right track.
- First, understand that the way you learn is not going to be the same as everyone else and so to create the right culture your business needs to be open to a range of teaching and coaching methods.
- Understand that you are not here to make things easy but to challenge. Giving a person what they struggle with is not the answer. The answer lays in giving them the opportunity to struggle as it will make them stronger.
- Employ and encourage candour throughout the business, people need to be told what they are weak at but never oversell it.
- Employ empathy. Introduce regular peer-to-peer and leadership reviews using a 360 review process, show them the progress they are making and encourage professional development.
Principle 15 – Get Process Driven
Your business is a machine and you need to build it like a machine, all the parts need to fit together and function smoothly without vibrations, without misfires without breakdowns. Remembering that your people are part of the machine too and so the same rule applies.
Creating scale in your business is a must in my view. I am not talking about building the next Microsoft or Dyson, although there is nothing wrong with that. I am pointing out that regardless of the size of your business you need to create some degree of scale.
Scale gives you the freedom to live the life you want to live. It gives you a business that is capable of working for you, rather than you working for it. One way gives you a business the other creates for you a job. There is nothing wrong with either but at least make it enjoyable. Scale will do that. It may be hard work but it is also enjoyable.
To do this you need a business that can run without you, a business that has process, procedure and protocol that is documented so that anyone, with the right stuff, could come in and take on any of the jobs including yours!
Once you are free of the creative (very early) stages of your business venture you can design a really well-shaped and disciplined business with processes and procedures, without losing the fun and creativity you should want to retain in the personality of your business.
Building this into the culture of your business will give everyone a very clear picture of expectations and planned progress. These are the building blocks of a business of true worth.
Create a culture in your business that has great clarity of objectives, tasks and the process for delivering on the key objectives. This is a real advantage to both performance and growth. It will also make you more efficient and certainly give you more control over elements like spending and investment.
In its simplest form, this is creating what is sometimes referred to as a ‘business in a box.’ Think in terms of some of the global powers in the franchise market, where you can expect to get consistency and quality. This comes from a universal process and procedure. You don’t need to be developing a franchise to take full advantage of this strategy for consistency.
- This can be a tough part of the process of developing your business into something exceptional. It does take time research and thought.
- Make room in your diary over a period of time to work exclusively on this project.
- Use mind-maps to help you and seek the assistance of others who know your business, to help sanity check assumptions and processes.
- Include in the process people planning too, the right people in the right seats is essential.
- Take time to understand the technology you may need and conduct trials and testing.
Principle 16 – Deal With Problems
Some business leaders think too hard about their position and their vulnerabilities. As a result, they find it difficult to deal with issues that arise, for fear of the outcome or should that be the wrong outcome? Some prefer to protect their status over making the right decisions and dealing with the internal and or external problems that inevitably arise in business. Problems should not and must not be tolerated.
There is nothing wrong with celebrating victories but you must never do this while sweeping problems under the carpet. Far better to wait to celebrate and deal with the problems in a positive and timely way. It is better for you, your team and your business, of that there is no doubt.
If you are not worried about an aspect of your business, I would say that you should in all honesty be a little worried about that. If you are worried about aspects of your business, then you really do not have anything to worry about, providing you deal with the issues. Do not accept issues and do not get used to them.
By far the best way to deal with problems is to put in place a series of checks and balances that will allow you to pre-empt or diagnose quickly the issues that need to be resolved. Think like a chef, don’t let the meal go out to the customer before you’ve tasted the food you expect them to eat. Only let the food leave the kitchen if you are fully satisfied with the quality and taste. Taking this approach can solve many issues before they become a problem.
People problems can also be dealt with in a similar way, which is where profiling and understanding stress touch-points and weaknesses come into their own, in collaboration with training and mentoring.
Create a culture in your business that is proactive and based on checks and balances that are run and monitored by the right people working in and on the business. Do not however let this become a launchpad for micromanagement. Checks and balances let you manage at arm’s length and give your people the space to perform and learn.
Once you understand the process and procedure and have committed that to paper you can then design the checks and balances that will help to first prevent and next diagnose problems. In addition, the process can include fixing those issues that are predictable.
- Have a clear understanding of the processes the business needs to be using for each area of operations, make sure these processes are fully tested.
- Include leadership training and coaching within the professional development program for those with responsibilities.
- Ensure that extra attention is taken to underpin the areas of weakness, where one process meets or hands-over to another, for example, marketing to sales.
- Create the habit in the business for all team members to undertake scenario planning, asking the question ‘what if?’
Principle 17 – Improve The Machine
Your machine is the entire business including the people working in it and on it. Once you have built the machine you should always be looking to improve it, with one eye on the future. That means you are going to have to look up from time to time and second guess what it is that will be coming down the track at you.
With your machine in good working order and your processes working the way you want them to, it is time to look at the systems to see where the weak points are and where improvements to the system can be made.
It is also time to think about bringing in additional systems to complement the machine, for example in the human interaction areas. Systems relating to decision making for example.
Always give regard to the ripple effect. Each change or addition you make will be like throwing a stone into the centre of a pond, as the ripples spread they will have an impact on other areas of the business and on other people too. These need to be fully considered before the event.
When you add to existing processes and systems to amend or modify them, always consider what can be removed from the existing system. This will pay dividends later as it will help to get rid of redundant systems and prevent more bureaucracy in the business. This will also help to prevent issues later.
When making the changes never forget the ultimate objective and the vision of the business, ask yourself ‘do these changes progress us toward these goals?’ Also ask ‘are my assumptions right, who can I test them with?’ The key to modification is to use the data collected but test the assumptions and find ways to prove yourself right or wrong. Listen, always listen to alternate views.
Create a culture in your business that is encouraging people to come up with new ideas regarding improvements that can be made to any and all elements of the business.
make sure this is not an excuse to create unrest, marginalise people or get involved in office politics, this is about improving the machine for the benefit of all concerned.
This is achieved by continuing to promote creative and innovative thinking throughout the business. By encouraging those working in and on the business to have their say without fear of ridicule or blow-back.
- Improvements can be made if you get everyone in the business treating it as if it were their own. This required them to be educated, to understand how all the roles and departments contribute to the revenue. It requires them to understand when the business makes money so do they. But this shouldn’t be the sole incentive. It should be balanced with gratitude, praise and other rewards.
- Encourage the team to constantly be thinking ‘What if’, it’s not about asking the question of others but of themselves and then using the answers to create new innovations for consideration.
- Remember that different people are good at different things and therefore do not design the improvements to fit the people, design them to benefit the machine.
Principle 18 – Do What You Set Out To Do
Your aim is to keep the entire business on track, moving in the right direction, toward the ultimate vision. If you have selected well and all your team are on the right bus and in the right seat this becomes an easier road to travel.
The assumption is that your people are all passionate about the job they have, they all understand the vision and their individual goals and they will be excited about the road ahead. If this is not the case then there is something wrong with the machine.
The key is to be working toward the goals that you are excited about and so they will get your full commitment and effort. The other side of this coin is your people need to feel and act in the same way too. This is why having the right people in the right seat is so very important to your success.
Focus on the tasks that are related to those goals, but you still need to be part of the team. You still need to be coordinated and consistent in the work you produce for the business. Use all the tools you can to make this as easy as possible. Using technology, checklists and always look for creative routes to the objective that can cut time and cost from the overall project.
As the business works its way towards its goals it is important to collect, collate and disseminate data to others so that the machine remains in balance.
Doing what you or the business has set out to achieve often requires behavioural change. make sure everyone is aware of the habits that need to be changed, are aware of how habits are formed and are aware of what they personally need to change.
Create a culture in your business that is focused on objectives and encourages performance from all, based on passion and working to the strengths of the individual and the team.
This is achieved through clarity of mission and values as well as clarity of objective and responsibility. It also requires coaching to assist in changing and adopting the habits that are required for the objectives to be achieved, with quality and consistency, as quickly as possible.
- Make it clear what behaviours are required, make sure that those who need to make changes are aware of the fact and that they are given the appropriate coaching and mentoring to help them to make the changes.
- In business, everyone will have much to do and it is easy to become frustrated with others, which can cause bad feelings and damage relationships. Avoid this by developing EQ throughout the business and allowing the team to develop together.
- Be a business that is known to think before it acts, made up of people who all think before they act. Give people the space to perform but also give them the ability to seek advice.
- Recognise work fatigue and allow your team to rest and recuperate, allow them to have frequent breaks but keep to timings and give their tasks their all when working.
- Remember exceptional businesses grow exceptional people. Grow your people.
Principle 19 – Have An Eye On Governance
As if running a business was not enough of a challenge we also must and should always be aware of legal, regulatory and governance issues, appropriate to your business, its sector and status.
Be known as a business that is trustworthy, has integrity and is a valued member of society. To be truly successful you need to have checks and balances in place. Ignorance is no excuse and the culture of the business should be one that takes responsibility and is fully accountable for all their actions. That means the actions of the human element too.
Each individual is responsible for their own task and should be fully accountable and responsible. mistakes are okay and should be reported so that damage can be mitigated.
Have a clear organisational chart that everyone is aware of and understands. Have clear redress systems in place that are fully documented and ensure that the entire team are aware of the processes and procedures surrounding the redress and handling of issues internal and external.
Team members should be encouraged to report issues that they witness without fear of reprisal and should do it because it is the right thing to do, not to get someone else into trouble.
All members of the team and if applicable across all teams should be accountable and work together for the pride, for the passion and for the business and its overall welfare. Nobody is bigger than the machine and the mission is everything, but not at any cost.
Create a culture in your business that understands the need for compliance and governance and has the willingness to contribute in their own way through their own integrity and the quality of their work.
A team that is working together and helpful to each other, a team that works to the process and procedure is a team that through these very actions will mitigate much of the risk and this will have a direct impact on the governance issues too.
This will go back to ensuring there are clear objectives for individuals and groups of individuals. It will also come down to ensuring only the best people are involved in the business, which means that centre stage will be the selection, mentoring and coaching programs.
- Create a work environment that promotes a willingness to cooperate and take responsibility at the same time as being fully accountable for their role in the business process.
- Understand that no one is more important than the system that is in place to run and administer the business. This means that the system needs to the fit for purpose at the very least, but aim for exceptional as the target.
- Decision-makers must have access to all the information and it is the responsibility of each individual to collect, collate and disseminate that data.
- Have clear and easy to use reporting lines for everyone working in and on the business
I have some homework for you and it is going to require some effort. But we already know nothing worthwhile is going to be easy, the thoughts you put in to this are key…