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FBP 053: The 4 Behaviours Seen When Forming a Team

In episode 53 of the Fluid Business Podcast David takes a look at four behaviours seen when forming a team. Fluid founder and business coach, Ray Moore, inspired this episode from his recent article on the Levels Blog.

Recently, during a business coaching session, Ray was reminded by a client of four common responses he encountered to a business challenge. Over the years he has encountered similar experiences voiced by countless business owners when building a strong, resilient team.

Our team of professional business coaches share their expert knowledge and experience every single week, empowering you, the business owner, to develop and grow your business the right way.

Join us as we cover core subjects areas in our unique and relaxed way, including: Rapid Growth, Family Business, Team, Efficiency and so much more.

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Helping Your Team With Change

On purpose I have titled this article ‘Helping your team with change’. One often misunderstood concept of change is that we want to change the team or change the people. If this is your starting point, you are doomed to fail. It is not the new situation that often creates the resistance, it is the uncertainty of what is going to happen. Either with the circumstances or with their personal situation. This is the main reason why people object instantly and question the change, often in a very defensive way. Questions like, “Why do I need to change?” or “What is the reason for changing this?”

I therefore recommend to flip this completely. When leading companies and teams, we need to show the vision and direction we are heading for. We also have to show what the new situation will bring. Explain the new situation and show how it is going to be beneficial to the individual. I have seen from experience that people are clever enough to understand that sometimes they need to change in order to commit to a common goal. If your team members do not see the need to change, help them understand it.

Years ago I worked in a company which was not known for embracing change and for over 20 years the company was run in the same way with nothing ever really happening. Then crisis hit our industry and in order to deal with this changed economy, change needed to happen. My starting point was to make clear to everybody what the end goal was and what we wanted to achieve (share the vision). I then explained to everyone what needed to be done (share the mission). At this point people were invited to contribute to the actions that needed to be done.

 

Many years ago I learned the following:

Tell the team, and they will know

Show the team, and the will remember

Involve the team, and they will learn

 

It has been on my whiteboard since, and I have applied this in Holland, Sweden and in the UK. And especially when change is concerned it is a very powerful reminder that effective change only happens when people are involved in the process.

 

The second thing we did was doing DiSC assessments and training with all the office staff, including the foremen of the warehouse. This was never done before and people were very anxious of the outcomes. Be profiled sounded very scary in itself, but what freshened even more was the next step when we discussed the profiles in small groups. The workshops however became a very big success, because people realised that the profiles were actually them. Also they understood that there was no right or wrong in the DiSC profiles. It was an assessment of who they were.

I still believe that one of the other elements for the success was my open involvement as a Managing Director. Also my profile (including some obvious characteristics) were scrutinised by the team. Some of them were basis for some nice banter among the team. For me the most fascinating outcome was to a few members of staff had worked together for decades, without really understanding their co-workers. With that understanding it was much easier to work together, because we all react in different way to various situations.

As said at the beginning. You cannot lead a team or any group from a big tower, shouting instructions. Especially in change processes it is vital you are seen as the leader. Show the team you are also going through the challenges and paces of the change. This will help them to overcome theirs and join you in the process.

Again, change is not scary in itself. The scary bit comes in, if we do not know why we change or what the change is for. Make clear to your team what destination you are heading for and what direction you are going. Trust your team with the responsibility to adjust their own course along with yours. This will give you credibility as a leader and much more success for the change.

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Alignment, the Secret to Modern Business Success

One of the biggest challenges facing modern businesses of all sizes is how to take the business to the next level of success and profit without the cost structure getting out of control. One of the biggest costs on most businesses Profit and Loss Statement is salaries and wages, or in simpler terms, people.

As a business leader, your challenge is to get more out of your people without making them work ridiculous hours or chasing them around barking orders. What would it mean to your business if all the people you employ were passionate about the business, understood and believed fully in the goals and ideals of the business and strived each day to deliver the goals and results their job was designed to deliver?

In the past, business leaders have often resolved growth challenges by employing more people and trying to get them to generate additional sales and improved customer service, only to find out much later that the growth in overhead costs has cancelled out the growth in sales. It has often been said that any business is only as good as the people in it, and today this statement is probably truer than it has ever been.

So how do we as business leaders and managers go about getting more out of the people we employ?

A famous quote states; “A fish rots from the head down” and this is true for any business or organisation. The senior leadership of any organisation is where any strategy to get more from the people must start. The leadership of any business must give clear direction, rules and goals for all members of the business to follow, including the most senior directors.

Being a leader in a business is not just about explaining the goals and rules of the business, but inspiring the team in the business to become passionate about what the business is trying to achieve and why it is so important. Many leaders forget that you can only lead people, not a task or a job, and as such, it is the way the people feel and view their jobs that often makes the difference between a company that slowly moves forward and one that continues to outperform its competitors regularly. True leadership is about inspiring people where they care as much about the results and performance of the business as much as the directors and owners do.

Another key function of leadership that is often overlooked in modern business is that of retaining and developing the key talent currently in the business and to be constantly on the search for new talent to bring into the business to develop. Many of the business owners I speak to in the UK today, tell me that they often get very high numbers of people applying for jobs with them, but finding real talent in the market place is becoming more and more difficult. It is therefore very important that the most senior leaders in any business must align the culture and perception of the business to attract the kind of talent they are looking for and to retain the talent already within the business.

From this the owners must make sure that the structure or organisational chart of the business is aligned to deliver the goals and results the business is looking for.

It is amazing how many businesses have compromised their structure to fit the people in each of the roles which often results in lack of clarity about ownership of each area of the business and also major communication challenges within the business.  This is what happens when the structure is not aligned with the results the business is looking for.

Once the structure is in place, it is vital that the job roles are aligned with the structure and results the business is looking for. One of the most common methods of creating a job role is to focus on what you want the person in the role to do, so the job role often becomes a long list of things to do and the overall function of the job role is then lost. A better way to create a job role is to start with the outcomes or results you are looking for from the job role and then define what the role must do in order to deliver those outcomes. Each job role must also have a measurement or set of measurements connected to it so that the person in the role and their leader can quickly and easily measure how the job role is performing.

I was recently working with a business on this very matter in their sales department and all the sales people told me that on average they spent around 10% of their time on sales and the rest on other functions and duties. When I investigated the matter, it turned out that most of their time was spent doing other departments work, the structure and roles were not aligned to deliver increased sales, the very thing the business was looking for!

Once this is all done, look at the structure as a leader and make sure you have the right people in the right roles. This is often a very challenging step for a leader to take as it often comes with the fear of upsetting people or causing disruption to the business. As a leader in a situation like this, take a step back and look at the bigger picture and just ask yourself, how much upset, lack of results and frustrations are being caused to the business and the team with the wrong person in the role. The answer to this can very often be a huge eye opener.

Once this is all aligned, it is important that the marketing strategy of the business is aligned with the key customers in each market sector they are looking to attract. It is interesting to hear how many business leaders complain about the large quantity of potential customers who contact their business and just waste their time. The key factor they are not seeing is that it is their marketing message that is attracting these people to contact them. Know the market place you want to be active in, identify your ideal customer in that sector, understand what your point of difference is in the market against your competitors and then align your market strategy and communication to attract the kinds of customers you really want. Then do this separately for every sector you wish to be active in.

The next step is to make sure that your sales process and all the people who take an active role in it are aligned with the marketing strategy and communication so that a consistent level of profitable success is achieved.

This process can then be applied to every department in your business and also to your supplier agreements and processes.

This may all seem like an article that points out the obvious, but the reason I have written it is because over the many years I have been a business leader and later a coach and consultant, I have very rarely seen it put into place across and entire business and as a conscious strategy.

It is vital that as a leader, you regularly test and check to make sure that each department and your business is truly aligned, the results you will achieve will make the investment in time worth it.

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Key to success in today’s competitive market

What’s the key to success in today’s competitive market?

In the majority of businesses in the UK today, the biggest figure on the cost section of any Profit and Loss Statement is almost always; wages and salaries. The challenge facing most business leaders is to make sure that this cost on the Profit and Loss is actually an investment and not just a cost.

One of the major reasons for keeping this a cost in many businesses is when you have the wrong people in your business. Having the wrong people can create a number of challenges which directly effect efficiency, customer service and profitability in the business.

To start with, let’s have a look at the different kinds of people you can end up with in your business and the possible effect they could have on your business.

The first group you just don’t want or need in your business are those that can turn almost every positive into a negative. They love to go around sharing their feelings of doom and tell people millions of reasons why things cannot be done or achieved. They suck every aspect of enthusiasm and energy from the business and can have a major effect on a business or department. As a leader, I am sure you have met these people and just imagine trying to inspire them to help you achieve goals or results.

Then we have those who have the answer to every question, well that is until you ask them to go and implement the answer. They are always free with their advice and can’t wait to tell everyone about how fantastic and clever they are, however, they never ever seem to get going and actually do or achieve anything. These people have a habit of frustrating any team they are members of and reducing the capability of the team to reach its targets. How would you go about driving change or new ideas into your business with one or more of these wonderful people around?

The next candidates we can experience in our business life are those who make sure you know they are around and will appear to support you and tell you how wonderful things are to your face, but the minute you leave the office; they get their knives out and start the stabbing. They have great ability to split teams, drag others away from focussing on the goals and slow every process down as they are masters of misinformation. Often they are admired and respected by other members of the team as they believe that they have the boss’s ear and that they have great powers of influence over any decisions. With their powers of dividing the team, often energy, focus and direction are lost in the teams or businesses they are members of. As a leader with these types of people in your business or group, how will you inspire the team to a continuous level of increasing success and results?

The last group of people we really need to watch out for in our business or departments are those high flyers who appear to achieve great results but who break every rule and rarely follow company systems or processes. They are happy to step on colleagues as well as clients to make sure they fuel their own egos and get the results they are looking for. They are not team players and will often break teams down as all they are looking for is their own results. They do everything their way and as such; the overall result of the team or business is often of very little importance to them. As the leader of a group with these types of people in them, you could have an enormous task trying to pull the team together and inspire them to new levels of success and achievement. It is vital that you recognise this type of people, as once they are in a business it is often difficult for business owners or leaders to get rid of them as they are fearful of losing what they think are highly skilled and effective people. Almost every business I have worked with which had one of this type of people in it, the owner knew in their heart what was going on but were just too scared to lose the person that they turned a blind eye to the effects they were having on the team and the business as a whole.

Now that we have highlighted a number of different types of people which we don’t want in our business, what types of people do we want in the business to make sure we can run a business which is happy and consistently achieves the results we are looking for?

We need to build a business made up of people who not only have the skills we require in the business, but who also engage with the goals and vision of the business, but what is more, people who understand and can live with the culture of the business.

So how do we go about dealing with any of those types of people who we do not want in our business, but are sadly already in the business?

The most important strategy to implement with all people in your business is to have relevant measurements for each position and person in the business. These are often called KPI’s, Key Performance Indicators. There are two common errors that many business owners and leaders make with their people!

One is that they often do not measure all the people in their business. It is vital that all people are measured in the business so that if any reviews or appraisals are to be carried out, the owners or leader can deal with real facts of the performance of the person and not just subjective feelings. It is also a great deal easier to follow disciplinary processes when hard facts are in place.

The second error is that when they do measure a person or a role, they often measure what they do and not what the role is expected to achieve. It is important that all roles are measured against the results that the role must achieve and not just on activity.

To take your business to the next level of success and growth in today’s very competitive market place, the performance and quality of your people in the business are most often the reason that makes your business stand out from your competitors.

What are you doing today to make sure your business has the right people in the right roles to ensure the growth and sustainability of your business?

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Does your recruitment process include the right filters?

The key to sustained growth and success in the modern business era, is having not only the right people in your business, but inspiring them to deliver results and improving success while enjoying what they do.  The most common statement I hear from business owners and leaders is the challenge they have to interview and recruit the right people for their business. Understanding how to recruit effectively is now one of the key skills for any business. What I am looking to do in this article is provide some key points that will help all people involved in recruitment gain a deeper understanding of how to develop a better recruitment process.

The majority of recruitment processes I have seen, focus almost entirely on determining whether the candidate has the right skills to do the job and whether they have had experience in the required field, whilst very little, if any time or effort is placed on finding out if the person being interviewed will actually fit into the business or department.

A business owner I worked with for some years summed up recruitment in probably one of the best ways I have heard. He said that before gaining an understanding of what needed to be done in a recruitment process, he had spent most of his time in an interview trying to sell his business to the candidate, now he goes into every interview with a completely different mindset, he sits there thinking, “Why should I give you a job, how are you going to help me achieve the goals of my business?”

We need to recruit people who not only have the skills we require in the business, but who also engage with the goals and vision of the business, but what is more, people who understand and can live with the culture of the business.

So how do we determine this and then include it into our recruitment process so that it filters out all the types of people we don’t want in our business and lets through those who are going to help our business move forward with increasing results and success?

Let’s look at the key elements of a well designed recruitment process.

Firstly, we need a well thought out and documented job role. It is vital that when we create a new role in any business, we start with what we want this role to produce, namely the output of the role. It is amazing how many job roles we regularly come across where the role is made up of bits and pieces of many roles, which causes communication breakdown and confusion within the business.

The majority of job roles we see consist mainly of the actions and things the person needs to do, with very little emphasis on the outcomes each area of the role need to deliver.

Other important aspects that a job role should include are who the role reports to and how the role will be measured.

Secondly, a very important component to have in place to improve your recruitment process and build the right filters is the vision or goal of the company. With this in place, you will be able to question any candidates very deeply to see if they connect emotionally to the vision of the business and whether they will able and interested in helping build the kind of successful business you are looking for. This will help filter out all the kinds of people that are just looking for a job and are not really interested in helping you build and achieve the goals you are looking for. The key to making this part of the recruitment process successful is by asking in depth and open ended questions.

Thirdly, we need to have some culture or value statements for the business. What I mean by this, is the core things that the company stands for. As an example, a business I know had three key core aspects in their business; Excellence, Elegance and Exceptional care and in the beginning of the interview, the owner would ask any candidate what they understood by these points and to give some examples on how they had in their past delivered on these points.

Fourthly, we need a well documented and written process which includes all of the above points to make sure that whoever is involved in the recruitment process does it consistently in the same way. Once the process has been documented, the creator must train all other people on this process and make sure that they truly understand why each step is in the process and why it is important that they follow the process.

Lastly, we must focus on the key skills and experience required for the role. To evaluate these can involve practical testing and evaluation, however so many business owners are reluctant to include these tests because of the time they take up. Just ask yourself this, would it be more beneficial to take an extra hour or so during the interview and increase the chance of getting your selection correct, or rush the interview and have to live with the wrong person in your business for months or years?

Recruitment is probably one of the most difficult but most important processes for any business owner to get right as the success a happiness of any business is built around the people within the business.

Having the right people in the right positions in your business can mean the difference between long term profitable growth and struggling to keep the business moving forward. We all know what impact a person with the wrong attitude or mindset can have not only on their own job, but on the happiness and productivity of those around them.

When last did you review your recruitment process?