Management by ‘Click and Collect’

September 25, 2014

We’re starting to get used to this idea of order one day and collect the next;  ordering our groceries and collecting on the way home.  How easy is that?!  We decide what we want and someone else does the leg work.  We get the results we want, and can get on with what we really want to do.  Click and collect.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could manage strategy in the same way?  We decide what we want, place our order and someone else does the legwork to get the results we want.

I realise, that’s not quite how we want it.  We want to have some control still about how the ‘legwork’ is done, how the strategy is implemented, and we want people to be happy while they’re doing it.  But still, wouldn’t it be lovely  ….

The reality can be more like the one a client shared recently:  “Yes, I shared the vision and they all listened and smiled .. politely.  I think they’re more interested in how it affects them.”

My client doesn’t want polite smiles, he want Passion, Engagement, Action.  So we talked about ‘what would people be doing differently if they had Passion?’ ‘How else could the same behaviour be achieved?’  ‘What might be stopping them from doing that?’  and all those great coaching questions.

We came up with some great ideas, lots of tactics, rewards etc..  and as the fog cleared, out of nowhere, I started humming a song.

Its not what you do

It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it.  That’s what gets results.” the Fun Boy 3 and Bananarama version.

It was a bit embarrassing but ‘WOW!’  that was the answer.

The answer wasn’t ‘how good is the strategy?’  It was all about credibility and ‘how we behave with our team’.  If we want passion, we have to show passion.  If we want honesty, we have to be honest.  If we want them to trust us, we have to trust them.  If we want them to do things differently, they will make mistakes, and we have to show them it’s okay to make mistakes by admitting our own.

.. and that’s pretty scary.  Does admitting we may have made a mistake lessen our credibility?  Or does it increase it?  If they win, do we lose?  Do we want to win the war or this battle?

The truth is Click and Collect is for things, tasks, inanimate objects and systems that don’t have feelings.  Efficiency and speed are brilliant for that.

For people, we have to go slow, build trust, and understanding, be authentic, credible and clear.  We want to be someone others will follow, because they like us, they trust us, they believe in us.  That might sound a bit unrealistic, but there are people out there that many of us would follow, wherever they were going, because we believe in them.  That might be Richard Branson or Oprah Winfrey, it might be a friend, a family member or a colleague.

“It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it.  That’s what gets results.”

Start of the season

September 9, 2014

It’s the start of the football season, and the Broadstone Colts won their opening match 4-2!  The Colts are sponsored by Aspirin Business Solutions – the Business Painkillers.

So, is this a shameless plug for Aspirin Business – No! (or maybe just a little one).  More importantly, there’s a key message I’d like to share.

Opening match (and win) of the season for the Broadstone Colts.

Opening match (and win) of the season for the Broadstone Colts.

In yesterday’s coaching sessions, my clients shared their frustrations at implementing their strategy.  A key frustration was the difficulty in getting everyone involved during July and August.  My take is this – why do some people love playing football, sometimes running around a muddy field in the pouring rain?  They do it for free and with bags of enthusiasm, and (some of them) then turn up to work on Monday showing little of the motivation they showed on the pitch.

Football has a season.  Football players run around for 90 minutes, twice a week (if you include training) and for around 9 months of the year.  They have a clear understanding of how to win, a shared purpose and breaks in between.  In our enthusiasm, we sometime expect our teams and ourselves to run for 8 hours a day, 230 days a year and win.  It’s exhausting.

My view is strategy needs to be implemented in discreet projects; projects that are achievable on top of the day job (aka Business as Usual); projects that have a clear and shared purpose and a clear understanding of how to win.  Don’t expect to implement strategy during busy periods, instead allow your team time to catch their breath, to celebrate the victories and anticipate the next project.

Back to school

September 3, 2014

Every 6 months or so, we take a little time off to reflect on our own business performance and strategy.  What’s working well?  What isn’t?  What shall we improve?  Each time the resulting business growth has been exponential.

The first real ‘review’ took place in Feb 2010 when I tore my cruciate ligament on the first day of a week’s skiing holiday.  I was determined to make it a great week, and do things I wouldn’t normally do.  So I read Clive Woodward’s autobiography ‘Winning!’ and redeveloped the business strategy.

Making it easy for clients to say 'Yes!'

A faster, stronger strategy created by the team who’ll implement it.

This summer, we drove to Portugal (and back).  We’ve come back with lots of ideas to give our clients an even better experience, with more impact and less pain.  So here’s a sneak preview of some of the ideas we’ll be introducing this quarter:  Management Exchange events, Time Management for Technical Managers, and a faster way to create a strong business strategy by the team who’ll be responsible for implementing it (using this photo from Lagos).