June 2016 – A window into our world

June 20, 2016

Trust and credibility are two of the most important buying factors for our clients.  A third is our ability to connect at a personal level.  All three factors are hard to fake – which is great for us, because they’re based around a core of integrity.   Read more

Why succession planning can be motivating

June 20, 2016

One of the greatest privileges of my life was to work alongside my father, and to help him retire both emotionally and financially successful (knowing his team and company would thrive without him).  So it may come as no surprise to find succession planning is close to our hearts at Aspirin Business. Read more

What motivates you to drive change in 2016?

June 20, 2016

At her debut Mindshop UK Conference for Business Advisors at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel in London, our Susannah Brade-Waring was asked to deliver a presentation on ‘What motivates you to drive change in 2016?” Read more

Future-proofing Businesses through our People

June 20, 2016

by Paul Kinvig – Business Coach & Facilitator with Aspirin Business Solutions


In a recent Business Leaders survey on key issues facing business in 2016, by Mindshop (one of the world’s leading online learning platforms) future-proofing the business was one of the Top 10. In general, the term ‘future-proof’ refers to the ability of something to continue to be of value in the future through anticipating needs & events and developing methods & strategies to ensure the business/product remains of value.

Future-proofing has become a real buzz word of late, especially given the relentless pace of technology which often runs faster than our ability to adapt to its potential and the effect it has on customer requirements & expectations. The disappearance of famous names from ‘High St UK’ makes one wonder if ‘future-proofing’ ever came up at BHS board meetings or at Austin Reed strategy days?

For us as business owners & leaders future-proofing stretches way beyond our systems, products, services etc….it reaches to our people!!!

At a time when often it’s the quality, skill & commitment of our teams that give us the competitive edge, ensuring that we are both

a) developing our people who’ll develop and deliver our future work not just the work right now and

b) identifying the next set of leaders in the organisation (including the role we fulfil)

is vital if we are to future-proof our businesses

Why? Well for those with a high ‘Searcher’ or ‘Defender’ motivator it would be about feeling a sense of responsibility to employees, customers & suppliers. For those with a high ‘Builder’ motivator it would be about ensuring a continued income, whilst those with a high ‘Director’ motivator would focus on the need to control the process rather than have it happen to them (take a look at Motivational Maps for further info).

However, at its core level it’s about business survival – losing key employees for whatever reason, from retirement to tragedy – can & does have significant effect on the business in terms of relationships, performance & bottom line!

Not having a plan in place puts us at the mercy of events and therefore on the defensive. In sporting terms, part of the function of a great team manager is to always be questioning, “If we lose our star/ key player, who will step up to make sure we continue to be successful?”

You see, at a base level, we start with the question “Were we to lose an individual who performs a specific critical function in the firm, would this undermine our business performance?” — if the answer is ‘yes’ then succession planning/ future-proofing is required.

At the next level we ask the question “Given what we anticipate, what will be the needs of the business going forward and do we have the skill sets/ core competencies/ cultural values we need in the people we have to ensure our continued growth?” – if the answer is ‘yes’ OR ‘no’ then succession planning/ future-proofing is required. It can be sobering to consider how vulnerable we would be if our key people were to go……

Then, in terms of choosing the right person, we should always think beyond getting a carbon copy of ourselves. We always have to have in our minds “What are the business needs of the team/organisation?” rather than going for our own mirror image. Yes, personality is important, especially in smaller teams, however it’s business needs first! Remember, future-proofing is about what is required going forward, not about preserving the past. Prof Otis Baskin of the Family Business Consulting Group got it absolutely right when he observed:

“It is critical to realise that your successor cannot lead the business just like you.  Look for the right person to build upon what you have done and take it to new heights, not preserve your memory.”

Finally, something that has to be considered is the team that the ‘successor’ will lead. We need to be cultivating the team to be prepared for a new leader should it happen and to know that the culture is to support them in the transition. Succession planning isn’t just about developing the individual but about preparing the team they will inherit so they’ll be open & ready. Without getting the team buy in we risk undermining the whole process and putting performance at risk…….

So where are you with future-proofing your business in respect of your people? Do you know what is going to be required for your business going forward? Have you identified key people who if they left would cause you real performance damage? Have you a plan in place to attract & develop your people into key roles? Have you developed a culture within your teams to expect and welcome succession planning? Who should be the right person to be your successor and not necessarily just a carbon copy?

Lesley Dashew puts it brilliantly when she says:

“You don’t hire a successor for where you are, you hire a successor for where you want to be in the future,”


Here at Aspirin Business Solutions, many of our clients make succession planning an integral part of their business.  Indeed, they see it as responsible business leadership.  They find we add value in three primary ways:

  • Clarifying and agreeing the short and long-term future of the organisation
  • Stepping back from the personalities, to identify potential successors for all key roles
  • Developing a succession plan including identifying development needs, knowledge transfer, process development and timescales


Helping leaders and their teams adapt to change and develop successfully, is critical in achieving their wider goals – such as succession planning, increasing profitable growth and in ensuring organisations will survive and thrive in a changing marketplace.

Our Seven Factors to Faster Growth model fuses people and processes to release the potential in individuals, teams and organisations.  It allows our clients to scope out the intended future through vision, strategy and mission and identify how to implement and deliver that through values, objectives and team performance – and then to define and increase the capability of leaders, managers and teams accordingly.

seven steps

If this article resonates with you, we’d love to explore how we could help you achieve your organisation’s goals.  Please get in touch and let’s talk.

E: paul@aspirinbusiness.com

T: 01202 801187

or sign up to our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bSJCaz


Fit, lean and agile teams – getting fit for change

June 7, 2016

by Paul Kinvig and Susannah Brade-Waring – Business Coaches & Facilitators with Aspirin Business Solutions


The Scottish golf club Muirfield’s decision not to change its 272 year men-only membership policy has proved to be very costly, as it’s lost the right to stage one of the most prestigious golf tournaments in the world – The Open.  By contrast, it came as a real surprise to us just how many world changing inventions/ discoveries/ innovations can be attributed to Scotland and its people. Here are just a few – pneumatic tyre, telephone, television, hypodermic syringe, penicillin, flush toilets and refrigerators.

Contrast that again to the high speed world of Formula 1, which has made a number of mind-blowing changes – for example moving from being predominantly funded by cigarette advertising prior to its international ban, and in achieving the seemingly impossible feat of a sub 3 second pit stop.

In order to survive and thrive as an organisation, the need to both embrace and drive change has passed from being an option to a fundamental requirement.

Racing drivers know that going slow into the bend allows us to be faster going out.  Leaders who deliver change successfully, know the same holds true for organisations.  So it’s in the preparation for change that the race is won.

Whilst every organisation is going through change, for some it is slow and predictable. Whereas, the retail market is moving so quickly it’s difficult to know what we need to change to, let alone how we do that.  The best we can do is become more agile, leaner and well-equipped so we are fit and ready for change.  And, the golden lining, when the team are ready, they’ll start to drive the change themselves.

So, how do we become more agile, leaner and well-equipped?  Here are 3 things to consider:

1. Re-recruit

We’re very familiar with re-recruiting for sporting teams, picking the players who’ll help us achieve our objectives for the next season.  But what if we applied the same policy to our teams?  After all, even if we are in the same role today as we were 2 years ago, it’s highly likely that the requirements of the job have changed.  So bearing in mind the current and foreseeable future requirements of your team, who would you automatically re-recruit, who will make the grade given training, mentoring or coaching, and who probably won’t?  We acknowledge that this idea will feel intensely uncomfortable to some, however we’re actually being much fairer to everyone if we acknowledge the likely struggle to keep up and, as leaders, to face this head-on.  A good test of whether we need to think about re-recruiting is that when a vacancy comes up, do we just automatically use the same job description?  And if someone is unlikely to ‘make the grade’ they may thrive incredibly well in a redefined job role.


 2. Develop an ethos of team working

Change brings new challenges and uncertainty.  Therefore, the need for people to work together as teams, with trust and appreciation for each others’ talents increases significantly.  Consider, if you will, two examples – firstly that of a flock of geese who would never migrate if they couldn’t depend on each other, and secondly the F1 pit stops – where a sub 3 second pit stop utterly depends on having the right people, in the right roles with the right equipment.

Teams waste time and energy when there is an atmosphere of mistrust and blame and lose focus on achieving what is ahead because they are looking around and behind them.  This is often exemplified by team members not believing that change is necessary, that there’s a hidden agenda or not trusting others to get their part of the work done.  And, it can be easier to fail by refusing to participate, than to be seen to fail if we can’t deliver the new requirements.

If we are to build agility into our teams so that change is embraced and, in many cases, driven, we have to create this culture of trust by communicating effectively, being honest and authentic, sharing information and actually always ‘doing the right thing’, even when it is tough and has challenging implications. Being consistent in these areas creates that culture by demonstrating it in our behaviour as leaders AND thus demanding it from our teams.

However there is one more area that we need to examine and it is that of…


3. Create a culture of motivation and accountability

You have to expect that with a former Finance Director as our leader, we believe accountability is a critical success factor.  And yet this issue of accountability is a thorny one in that knowing what to hold people accountable to, and how to hold them accountable can leave us scratching our heads (or walking away), and we sometimes think it applies to our team – but not us, as leaders.  And yet if we want to make our teams agile and responsive then accountability is one of the keys to this.

It’s defined in the Business Dictionary as –

“The obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.”

If we look at the definition, the words underlined give us an indication as to key areas of focus. Each individual within the team needs to know exactly what is expected of them in terms of their activities and to what level so that the results can be accounted for without ambiguity or confusion i.e. in a transparent manner.

Contrary to what you might think, research shows that this principle of accountability has a very positive effect in respect of accuracy of work, problem solving, decision making, colleague co-operation and team satisfaction. It’s our responsibility to be accountable ourselves so that that authenticity moves through the team….there is no blame or vindictiveness…it’s just the way we do things!

And whilst we firmly believe in the principle of accountability, we also firmly believe in motivation – of creating the conditions that create a great place to work.  Being able to take pride in our work through a job well done, is a fundamental aspect of this.


At Aspirin Business Solutions, we take pride in creating great results for our clients.  Helping leaders and their teams adapt to change successfully, is critical in achieving their wider goals – such as succession planning, increasing profitable growth and in ensuring organisations will survive and thrive in a changing marketplace.

Our Seven Factors to Faster Growth model fuses people and processes to release the potential in individuals, teams and organisations.  It allows our clients to scope out the intended future through vision, strategy and mission and identify how to implement and deliver that through values, objectives and team performance – and then to define and increase the capability of leaders, managers and teams accordingly.

seven steps


If this article resonates with you, we’d love to explore how we could help you achieve your organisation’s goals.  Please get in touch and let’s talk.

E: sue@aspirinbusiness.com

T: 01202 801187

or sign up to our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bSJCaz

Aspirin in the community: Twilight Walk

June 7, 2016

24-May-Twilight-WalkThe Twilight Walk for Women returned to Bournemouth seafront for the sixth year running on May 20, All money raised from the event went towards women’s health services at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and for the third year running the event was hosted by Aspirin’s own Paul Kinvig.

As well as compering the event and introducing special guests for the evening, Paul interviewed participants before the event started and as they completed the course uncovering some wonderfully inspiring & heartwarming stories regarding how they have faced and embraced the life changing circumstances they have found themselves in.   

The event encouraged fundraisers to form a sea of pink and take part in the 1k, 5k or 10k walk along the seafront with more than 350 former patients, local residents and hospital staff strolling in their pink Twilight t-shirts at sunset.

Paul Kinvig, Business Coach & Facilitator with Aspirin said

“This is the third year I’ve been involved with this wonderful event and each time I come away inspired by the stories of the participants. Their willingness to embrace the change that has been forced upon them and in many cases to use it as a way of achieving inspirational things is truly humbling. Whether it is families running in memory of lost loved ones, patients who are undergoing treatment yet still running or those who have beaten illness and wanting to say thank you, one cannot help but reflect on the courage of the participants.”

Barry Wilson, Community & Fundraising Officer at RBHC commented

“It’s always difficult to keep interest in an event when it has been going for six years but we are very fortunate to have a very worthy cause behind us and are extremely lucky to have great supporters! Over 300 signed up to take part in the Twilight Walk for women and the atmosphere was fantastic! The participants will make a real difference to the women’s health unit at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital”

Aspirin’s involvement in the Twilight Walk is part of its ongoing commitment to supporting the wider community in which it operates, adding to its involvement in such things as Diverse Abilities, Lewis Manning Hospice & Mayor Of Poole’s Charities.

Top 10 Business Leaders’ Insights for 2016

June 1, 2016

We might not know exactly what the future will look like, but we can equip ourselves to be ready.  At our recent Business Leaders’ Academy, our members shared their insights into the challenges and opportunities for 2016 – including Brexit, technology and being agile.

Then we shared the Top 10 Insights from our partners at Mindshop, who surveyed 128 business leaders around the world to gather feedback on emerging business trends, training needs, opportunities & challenges.

Business Leader Insights Infographic

The full report from Mindshop, along with a short video from Mindshop’s James Mason, can be found here: Top 10 Business Leader Insights.

As partners with Mindshop, Aspirin Business Solutions can support you and your business with prioritising these Insights to meet your business goals, and developing and implementing solutions.