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The Business Leader of the Future

Main ArticalThe Business Leader of the Future – Do you Have what it Takes to Succeed?

World strategy guru and author, Gary Hamel in his best-selling book ‘The Future of Management’ points out that traditional ways of managing a business are coming to an end. To quote him directly:

New problems demand new principles. Put bluntly, there’s simply no way to build tomorrow’s essential organizational capabilities—resilience, innovation and employee engagement—atop the scaffolding of 20th century management principles.

Another business thought-leader, Alex Osterwalder talks about the urgent need for ‘business model innovation’ in his publications where he states that:

Companies that aren’t able to systematically rejuvenate their business model will struggle to survive and thrive in the future.

When you combine the innovative, clever thinking from these gurus with the avalanche of other new management thinking, which has become much more readily available over the past 10 years thanks to the power of the internet, the big question is this:

“What is a Business Leader of the future supposed to do next?”

Adopting all of it would have any Business Leader twisted into knots attempting to be the world’s best motivator, creative thinker, leader, strategist, team player, coach or lean specialist whilst driving the most innovative business model for their industry.

Whilst it is inspiring to hear stories of Steve Jobs from Apple, or how Google drive their operations, how does the leader of a successful medium sized business decide what latest thinking to take on board? How do they decide what is right for their business? How do they make it stick?

To assist Business Leaders determine what first steps to take for future success we have compiled the 10 key traits of a future business leader (see below).

To start the process first analyse WHERE you want to be as a business in 5 years time, e.g. 20% growth in profits per year for 5 years. This will provide a peg in the ground for the amount of evolution required for you as a Business Leader. Use this to help in the gap analysis exercise (below):

Top 10 traits of a Future Business Leader

Rate on a scale of -5 to +5 with -5 being ‘Very Low’ and +5 being ‘Very High’ how much you agree with each statement below? Complete it for where you are NOW,  and then complete it for WHERE you want to be:                                                                         

Question                                               Now      Where      Gap*

(*Gap = Where – Now)

1. I act as a ‘coach’ rather than a ‘manager’?
2. The business can function effectively without me?
3. I have a simple, clear approach to developing strategies?
4. I have a high level of ‘self awareness’ or Emotional Intelligence?
5. I have strong financial management skills?
6. I am a good communicator?
7. I am a good listener?
8. I have a strong network of peers to use as a strategic sounding board?
9. I am a good implementer, things get done when I’m involved?
10. I have strong life-balance?

Once you have completed the gap analysis identify your top three largest gaps. These should now become your three strategies to work on to become a more effective ‘Business Leader of the Future’. Implementing these strategies effectively with robust actions is your next challenge.

Whilst it is inspiring to read these latest management books and new management thinking it is critical to remember that it is a journey and there are clear steps that need to be achieved first before you can reach your end goals. Attempting to race straight to the perceived finish line will have a negative impact on both yourself, your team and your business.

Article by James Mason – Managing Director at Mindshop, (Aspirin’s Business Advisory partners) and adapted by Susannah Brade-Waring, MD, Aspirin Business.

Increasing Employee Engagement and Retention – even in uncertain times

Sue Mindshop Conference 2017 cropped for LIn article

You’ll know when you’ve created a motivated and engaged team when it feels like a great place to work, when it’s easy to attract and retain talent and when you create profitable growth consistently.

But, it’s not easy …  and that creates opportunities for businesses with motivated and focused teams to stay ahead of the curve, even in uncertain times.  That was the focus of Susannah’s recent talk at the UK Conference of Mindshop, which supports a global network of over 1,000 leading business advisors.

The key points included:

  • The business impact of employee engagement
  • Inclusion and diversity
  • Global principles with a personalised approach
  • The importance of trust in business

Highly engaged employees are:

18% more productive, 49% less likely to leave and 480% more committed to their employers’ success, which increases customer satisfaction by 12% and profit by 16%.

(source: Engage for Success).


Engaging Managers has the most impact on employee engagement, performance and retention. The evidence shows engaging managers agree clear objectives and show us how our work contributes. They coach us, stretch and bring the best out of us. They give regular constructive feedback, tackle dysfunctional behaviour well (they do not walk on by) and they create a culture of praise and acknowledgement. They care for our welfare and can be trusted.

However, employee engagement overall has stalled at just 33% of employees in the UK, with a similar figure in the US (source: Gallup). A recent survey by Totem revealed only 10% of employees in the UK are totally satisfied in their work. It’s a shocking statistic which hints at a general state of unhappiness and a search for more meaning and connection in the nation – and not just in the workplace.

Our own experience at Aspirin Business has demonstrated significant benefits by combining data-driven motivation strategies alongside employee engagement strategies. These create a personalised approach that helps us each feel valued and recognised as individuals, and helps us each create this feeling of achievement, personal satisfaction and connection (we’re keen on developing a sense of individual ownership rather than expecting others to make us happy at Aspirin). Our tool of choice is Motivational Maps.

Unfortunately, whilst convenient, generalised engagement strategies demotivate us when we realise everyone’s treated the same. We want to feel significant (in whatever way that means to each person), and generalised strategies create resistance – rather like the generalised use of antibiotics.

In these uncertain times, work can feel like a speedboat ride, with rapid changes in direction and hard bumps. Some people love this, whilst others feel sick and scared. Personalised approaches, based on data, allows managers to speed up and slow down the ‘boat’ experience to suit their teams’ motivators and keep everyone on board and engaged. After all, it’s impossible to perform at your best when you’re feeling sick, scared or … bored.

If we’re to create profitable growth consistently and stay ahead of the curve – even in uncertain times, then we need everyone to enjoy being in the same boat (i.e. our business), heading in the same direction and pulling together to achieve great things.

As Richard Branson said

Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.

Aspirin Business – UK Motivational Maps Conference

September 17







28th September 2017

9am for a 9.30am Start, finishing at 4.30pm

Venue: Hamworthy Club, Magna Rd, Canford Magna, Bournemouth, Wimborne BH21 3AP

Lots of free parking onsite.

The conference will be packed full of the driving force of Motivation including:

  • Keynote speaker: James Sale, Creator of Motivational Maps
  • Learn about employee engagement and motivation.
  • Practice analysing some trickier Motivational Maps and Team Maps (Group Activity).
  • Experience and participate in a Team Motivational Map Workshop (Group Activity).
  • Network with fellow Motivational Map Practitioners and share ideas on how to engage internal and external customers.


James Sale


Keynote Speaker James Sale

Creator of Motivational Maps, Author, Key Note Speaker and The Expert in Motivation.

James will be talking about the origins of Motivational Maps, current & future developments – including Organisational Maps and his forthcoming books on Motivation.

Why not Book your place by CLICKING HERE Limited Spaces!!

ALL THIS FOR £45.00 and it includes lunch as well.

Aspirin Business are Trusted Business Advisors and Experts in Motivation. They work with owner managed businesses to create strong business leaders with motivated and focused teams, enabling them to deliver profitable growth even in uncertain times.

Susannah Brade-Waring is one of only seven Senior Practitioners with Motivational Maps across the world.  Aspirin Business have trained and accredited over 40 Practitioners in Motivational Maps, and deliver programmes to increase employee engagement, motivation, productivity and retention.

Their clients include household names John Lewis, Waitrose and Merlin Entertainment.


Winner of the 2017 Mindshop Rising Star Award for the UK

Sue Mindshop Rising Star Award - CroppedAspirin Business has been awarded the prestigious ‘Rising Star of 2017’ by Mindshop, which supports a global network of over 1,000 leading business advisors.

This prestigious award was received by Susannah Brade-Waring, Managing Director of Aspirin Business at the annual UK Mindshop Conference. It is awarded by Mindshop to a stand out business leader that has demonstrated excellence in business advisory, value to others and financial success leveraged with the effective use of Mindshop.

James Mason, Managing Director of Mindshop commented

“Susannah is a very worthy winner of the 2017 Mindshop Rising Star award for the UK. Her achievement of Accredited Mindshop Facilitator status, her continuous giving back by way of guidance and support to fellow Mindshop advisors globally, combined with success in continually growing Aspirin Business, ensured that she stands out as a ‘Rising Star’ within Mindshop.”

Susannah Brade-Waring, MD of Aspirin Business said,

“I was delighted to receive this award.  Mindshop are a good fit with Aspirin, as we share common values including the necessity to add value, make complex things simple and stay ahead of the curve. We engaged Mindshop to increase the value we add to our clients through the provision of their best practice business tools and programmes.”

In addition to being an Accredited Mindshop Facilitator, former Finance Director, Susannah Brade-Waring is one of only seven Senior Practitioners with Motivational Maps across the world.  Aspirin Business have trained and accredited over 30 Practitioners in Motivational Maps, and deliver programmes to increase employee engagement, motivation, productivity and retention. Their clients include household names John Lewis, Waitrose and Merlin Entertainment.

About Aspirin Business:

Aspirin Business are Trusted Business Advisors and Experts in Motivation. They work with owner manged businesses to create strong business leaders with motivated and focused teams, enabling them to deliver profitable growth even in uncertain times.  Comprising a strong team of business leaders, they take a practical approach by integrating high-level strategy into day to day operations and creating conditions which enable people to perform at their best.

Key Capabilities for Business Leaders in 2017

June Newsletter 3A key difference between leaders and managers is their FOCUS.

Managers need to focus on getting activities done through their team, whilst leaders focus on providing direction, resources and connections.

The most successful business leaders ‘sniff out’ the trends – the forthcoming opportunities and challenges, to get ahead in their market.

A great resource for those trends is the annual survey provided by our business partners, Mindshop, who’ve surveyed over 120 business leaders and advisors globally to identify their thoughts on how to create success in the year ahead. The results reveal the key capabilities needed to create the breakthroughs to your success in 2017.

Click HERE to read the report & discover:

  • 10 key capabilities for success in 2017
  • Suggested strategies for success
  • How you rate for each of the ten capabilities

Should we Expand our Business?

June Newsletter 2

This short training video by Susannah Brade-Waring, demonstrates a tool you can facilitate with your team for a robust decision everyone can get behind.

Click Here: to watch this 4 minute video

A bold decision is not an easy decision – and there will be consequences. Making bold and sound decisions is one of the most important roles of a business leader.

A fact-based structured decision-making process, such as Cartesian Co-ordinates, works by drawing out the pros and cons of particular decisions – and can take just a few minutes to do.

Making a Global Difference Through Business

June Newsletter 1Searcher is the desire to make a difference & have a purposeful life. It’s the No. 1 motivator of Aspirin Business, and fulfilling this provides our team with focus, energy, resilience and happiness.

For the past 8 months, our ‘junior Aspirin’, Kyle Brade-Waring has been teaching English (as a volunteer) at a Malay school in Malaysia, through charity Project Trust.

Kyle had to raise a massive £6,200 for his training and costs, and is hugely grateful to contributions from our clients and suppliers, including JPS Landscape Design, IEC Limited, Motivational Maps, Dorset Digital Print and Aspirin Business.

Project Trust promote Global Citizenship – creating experiences for young people across our globe to benefit from learning together. As his family, Heath, Susannah and Tyler loved meeting Kyle’s Malay students, answering their questions and facilitating learning games. Project Trust was Aspirin Business’s chosen charity for 2016/17.

Like his students, Kyle lives at the junior science school, MRSM Tun Ghazali Shafie, in Kuala Lipis – surrounded by lush jungle, approximately 3.5 hours from the capital Kuala Lumpur. Kyle returns from teaching in late July, ready to start at Brighton University in the Autumn

What’s the Biggest Waste in Business? It’s Doing the Wrong Thing Well.

Teresa May General ElectionSo, on June 8th the UK goes to the polls. The calling of the election has garnered extreme reaction, being hailed as either the biggest piece of political cynicism in modern times or a bold and decisive decision!

Whatever your political persuasion, one of the hallmarks of a great leader (business or otherwise) is the ability to make informed & effective decisions.

Too many businesses have lost opportunities, staff, customers and ultimately competitive advantage because they either made the wrong decision at the wrong time, the right decision at the wrong time or not made a decision at all.

We can all identify a few key decisions that have completely changed our lives – for better or worse.  We ‘intellectually’ know the importance of decision making, and of making BOLD decisions if we’re committed to creating the outstanding products and service that will create clear blue water between ourselves and our competitors, and a highly profitable business that’s a great place to work.

So… ask yourself this question:  How do we make the key decisions in our business?

If we acknowledge the criticality of decision making, do we use a proven best practice methods to ensuring our decisions are both bold AND sound?

part of our role as business leaders is to CONSTANTLY keep up to date with the kind of information that gives us the ability to move quickly and appropriately

So how are you making your key decisions?  Through … intuition? Data analysis? Individually or collaboratively?  Emotionally? The latest thing you read? Internally or with external input?

Firstly it’s better to make a decision that none at all! Even if that decision is do nothing, e.g. “We will not expand our business during 2017”.  Former President of Ford Motor Company, Lee Lacocca, said:

“So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don’t sit there.

If we screw it up – start over. Try something else.  If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.”

If you want to improve the success rate of your decisions, here are a few hints & tips, from your Trusted Business Advisors at Aspirin Business.


You need to take time to gather FACTS to inform your decision – FACTS not just opinions. Even if you need to make the decision quickly, don’t sacrifice the strong foundation of the facts for time pressures. One challenge – part of our role as business leaders is to CONSTANTLY keep up to date with the kind of information that gives us the ability to move quickly and appropriately. If we don’t, then we run the risk of increasing the pressure on our critical thinking.

too many leaders make the wrong decision at the wrong time, the right decision at the wrong time or don’t make a decision at all

However, the opposite problem also occurs in that if we have so much information it is impossible to see ‘the wood for the trees’. This situation is called ‘analysis paralysis’ and can be a refuge for us in that we don’t have to make a decision because ‘we need more information’ but is also used as a tactic to delay decision-making in the company by others who want to delay change.

It’s vital to get the right facts AND the right amount of facts, then DECIDE!


Involving the right people is vital, but decisions by committee can be difficult and slow. Whilst it’s important to know what these views are, and why and how they are important, ultimately you will, as the leader of that business, have to take responsibility for the decision.

Garner views, take advantage of the experience of your team, talk to trusted experts outside your sphere of experience, and then MAKE YOUR DECISION.


Often, even with the best intentions, our team can be very attached to the status quo – or a preferred decision. Anticipating our team’s reaction is vital so that we can work together to gain the benefits of the decision, rather than fighting to implement our decision effectively.  If you’re already using Motivational Maps, you’ll be at a significant advantage in managing this change successfully.

Sometimes it feels impossible to make a decision because we’re not sufficiently invested either way – put simply ‘we can’t decide’.  This is where having a fact-based structured decision-making process, such as Cartesian Co-ordinates, works by itemising the pros and cons of particular decisions.



A bold decision is not an easy decision – and there will be consequences.   As a leader, making bold and sound decisions is one of the most important roles of a business leader.  Indecision is not an option because, as we say here at Aspirin Business “If you don’t choose, you’ve actually made a choice not to act!” – and that too has consequences.

Stop & Think!  What questions are either at the forefront of your mind and occupying your thoughts or at the back of your mind but with that nagging voice that won’t be silent?

If you want to talk to us in confidence about a bold decision you’re considering that could create that clear blue water you need to get ahead, then get in touch.  We have the tools & the experience, as both business leaders and Trusted Business Advisors, to help!

Call Paul on 07818 566 935

Call Sue on 07838 039 651

The Secret Source

Collective 1

This issue focuses on productivity, which is measured by ‘outputs’.  But outputs rely on the right inputs as well as how you ‘process’ those. One of the critical inputs is motivation, that ‘secret source’ that keeps energy & well-being levels high.

As you know, Aspirin Business are experts in diagnosing and increasing motivation. For example, our Paul Kinvig is motivated by Searcher and Creator – making a difference and innovation, and his ‘secret source’ is singing & performing.  Paul says, “There’s no doubt that being able to do the things I love outside of work, adds to my drive and energy levels IN work.  Being able to satisfy those motivators really does release more of that into what we do with our clients!”

As a leader & manager, part of driving productivity is to understand your own and your teams ‘secret source’ and foster it. You have a much greater chance of improving performance & productivity when energy & motivation levels are high……

Paul’s performing on April 6th, as part of The Collective, with songs by Prince at Canvas Loft Bar in Bournemouth. The group are also raising money for charity which satisfies Paul’s Searcher motivator.

To see Paul exhibiting his Creator & Searcher motivators (with a little bit of Star thrown in) click on the links below:

Improving Productivity

Productivity 2In the recent budget, the Chancellor once again highlighted productivity as a key focal point for the UK economy. The UK lags significantly behind the US in terms of productivity and our performance has not fundamentally shifted since 2008. This puts a significant strain our ability to compete.  In the words of Philip Hammond it remains:

stubbornly low…… we are 35% behind Germany and 18% behind the G7 average.”

But why? The case for the benefits of increasing productivity has been well made over decades in terms of improved profitability, time saving, customer retention & innovation and on a national level helping to improve wages & living standards….but it still won’t move! What’s wrong?

Well productivity at its base level is defined, in Harvard Business Review, as





And a significant part of the problem is to see it just in those cold terms of units of inputs and output.

Now it’s true that productivity measures often include output per hour, output per job and output per worker. However, it’s the right people allied to the right processes, doing the right things in the right time that deliver productivity growth……and people don’t act like processes!

Maybe to drive productivity and make it stick we should be looking at productivity in a more rounded manner – rather than just a set of numbers.

As a leader and manager, to paraphrase Peter Drucker, we “lead the people & manage the process” and productivity is a key measurement for the successful leader & manager. So in order to drive the discretionary effort which is so vital to productivity, we need to be the leader that our teams want to follow – rather than the boss they work for!

It’s our responsibility to instigate the correct mix of leading and motivating our teams with processes that deliver the established goals more quickly and cost effectively, using technology to automate where possible. It’s more than just getting our staff to work harder & longer!

But with an end game of what? Well the European Foundation For Quality Management (EFQM) in its Business Excellence Model postulates that the single biggest emphasis on driving excellence should be……customer results.

Process or people that improve an output metric, but do not drive customer satisfaction and growth, will never deliver sustainable productivity benefits. That road is littered with businesses who in their drive to improve the numbers, lost their people & their customers

So if we are going to really drive for sustainable productivity growth in our businesses & organisations it’s imperative we:

  • Put improving customer results at the heart of our productivity improvement plan. Remembering people don’t buy what you do – they buy why you do it, and this includes our teams.
  • Regularly update our key business objectives and priorities to keep everyone focused on the key activities that will deliver these results.
  • Engage our teams in sourcing and implementing technology which enables them to deliver their work in less time, and frees them up to achieve more.
  • Engage and train our teams to identify ways to drive down costs & reduce waste (including overproduction, defects and waiting time) whilst ADDING to the customer experience.
  • Create a culture of innovation and continuous improvement based on ‘fail fast, learn fast & pivot’.
  • See your team as critical to the feedback loop of ‘Is this working?’ and involve them in continuous improvement, with goals and rewards.

You’ll notice this focuses on people to drive the increase in productivity.  It’s our people who create (or undermine) customer results, business processes and innovation.  If we are going to increase productivity, and therefore competitive advantage, then we have to start thinking as much about people inputs and not just capital, labour and material inputsthe inputs our people receive in terms of communication, focus, involvement, motivation, purpose, support and wellbeing.  If you want to see an improvement in the outputs, concentrate on the people inputs!