Most of our blog entries can be read in two or three minutes. One or two go into greater depth and others are bite-sized. All are intended to share with you insights, ideas or inspiration that we hope you will find useful, interesting or energising.
Blogs about Leadership
We are all aware of the pace of change surrounding businesses and of the many different drivers of this. It is one thing to acknowledge change however, and quite another to reach clear conclusions about what it means for your business and what you need to do in response, if anything. In this blog, we’ll consider how you might begin to form answers to both these questions by taking a fresh look at your business model.
A root cause of frustration is often that a business’s ways of working have not kept pace with the growing and often relentless demands placed on them. People are understandably frustrated, annoyed, even unnerved by the resulting inefficiencies that are eroding otherwise healthy margins. There is a sense that things no longer work as they used to.
Many of the entrepreneurs we meet are either struggling against, or giving in to the gravitational pull of day to day operations. As expectations from customers, employees and even government ratchet endlessly upwards, it is understandable that their focus gets pulled towards the demands immediately in front of them: Client expectations, staff morale, GDPR. So why should we care about, let alone invest in purpose?
Whilst the concept of capacity is straightforward, it’s relatively uncommon in our experience to find service businesses who know their capacity, and how this is built up across departments or teams. And even rarer still to find businesses that are systematically using capacity management to inform their business strategy.
The result is uncertainty, poor decision-making and sometimes, break-downs. Running a business without a capacity strategy is rather like driving a car without a dashboard.
As experienced business coaches, we are yet to meet a Client who wakes every morning wanting to buy time from a B2B service provider. Yet we regularly meet service providers who sell their value as an estimate of the time required to create and deliver it.
One reason for this is an absence of a clear product and service proposition. The outcome is invariably that the service provider’s cost to serve is higher than estimated, and the value delivered to the Client is lower than it should be, leaving the relationship vulnerable. Why does this come about and how can we build value into sales that achieves better outcomes for both parties?
The vast majority of the entrepreneurs we meet are deeply committed to the people who work for them. They respect that their employees have commitments and obligations outside the workplace, and recognise the mutual benefit of offering them the flexibility to balance these sometimes competing demands.
A lot of the same entrepreneurs are also exhausted. Their commitment to everyone else results in them plugging the gaps that arise from flexible hours, sabbaticals, statutory leave, extended holidays and so on. Even years after they founded their business, the original risk takers are still the ones pulling the late nights and carrying the can. Sound familiar?
Numerous management articles tell us that if we want to be great leaders, we need to ask the right questions. This preoccupation with questions can blind us to their flaw - which is that they invite answers. Our questions, then, had better be perfectly designed to prompt the answers we need to lead effectively.