Insights Blog

Useful tools, tips and strategies to help your business learn, develop and expand.

Business Reading: Change Your Business One Conversation at a Time

Have you ever wanted to be that person who “keeps cool” during an intense situation? Have you seen that superstar manager who manages to keep their wits about them in a crisis and wonder how he or she can operate under pressure so well?

When a situation becomes emotionally charged, dealing with people and communicating your feelings increase in importance. Ironically, it also becomes a lot more difficult for most people to evaluate what is the best way to handle the conversation – meaning they often behave at their worst in some of the most important situations.

This week’s Business Reading recommendation is a book that teaches you how to tackle these sort of conversations in a way that keeps you on your desired path.

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In Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler, you are delivered a set of tools that help you think about – and hopefully better handle – conversations where emotions run high. These tools have proven to be a useful already with many of the business owners and executives who are business coaching with us in London at the moment.

We all have our ‘buttons‘ – the things that manage to goad us into an emotional reaction rather than a measured response. While not every tool in this book will apply for your situation, I highly recommend reading it for the parts that do speak to you.

You may end up discovering something about your leadership style or your staff training methods you did not even realise was holding you back from being an even better manager of your business and your team.

Take from this the tools that help you to learn how to fix misunderstandings, how to approach disagreements in a positive way, and how to share your story or your view. If you do, I can bet you will start to see the results not only in all your business relationships, but in your personal ones too.

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The 3 KPIs for Managing Directors

As the person who runs the business – whether the business owner, Managing Director or CEO – you are probably familiar with the idea of setting and measuring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your team members. However, when I have sat down to do this with many of my clients the question often comes up, “But how do I set my own KPIs?”

In this video, I explain the 3 key metrics you should be measuring to indicate your own performance. These should also help provide you with a bit of focus as to what you should be paying attention to in your business.

 

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:

Hi this is Shweta from The London Coaching Group. As a business owner, I’m sure you try your best to extend clarity to your team about their roles and key performance indicators.

Working on Your  Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Now when I’m working with my clients and we’re working on the KPIs of the team members, invariably the client would turn around and say “So, what should be my KPI Shweta?” “What should be my top key performance indicators or goals?”

Now that’s a very good question to ask, and if you have ever asked yourself this question then this might be useful. There are three KPIs, which a successful MD or a growth-driven business owner needs to have.

The First Key Performance Indicator (KPI) – Common Goal

The first question you need to ask or the KPI that you need to have in place, is that does the company have a common goal? So ask yourself a question; Is there a common goal to which the whole team is aligned?

The Second Key Performance Indicator (KPI) – Right Team

The second KPI is that does your company have the right team members in place, to help you achieve those targets? So again, the question is – if I were to ask you to let go all of your team members, just a clean slate to start all over again. How many of them would you rehire?

So do you have confident people, and maybe it’s a good time for you to answer this question. Or are there some positions which are vacant? Or maybe one or two people are actually extending themselves to multiple roles, and therefore not really doing their job properly because it is just too much.

The Third Key Performance Indicator (KPI) – Right Activities

So that’s the second KPI, the third KPI is; to make sure that these right people are doing the right activities which will help the company move towards that one common goal. Which is what the management is all about. On a day-to-day basis, are you really managing the activities of people to make sure they are moving in the right direction?

How Do You Rate?

So once you have clarity on your KPIs and you are asking yourself these questions saying; “How do I rate on these three KPIs?” “Am I doing a great job?” “Or do I need to become better?” Because I’m sure that we all have our next levels, if that’s the case with you then see below because you can find out more about what we do and how we can help you become a better MD and a better business owner.

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4 Strategies for How to Strengthen Your Brand Equity

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How much is your brand worth? The concept of “brand equity” is an important one for business owners to consider carefully. Unfortunately, most business owners do not yet fully understand it – let alone know how to strengthen brand equity effectively for their business.

Here I’ll explain a few strategies on how to strengthen your brand equity, developing a strong brand to ensure that you occupy a positive space in your consumers’ minds and maintain positive growth in your business.

The term brand equity is one which speaks of the inherent valuation of the brand in the consumers’ minds. Your business’ brand equity is made up of all the associations, emotions, and experiences which people think of when exposed to your brand. The stronger a bond which consumers have with your brand, the higher your brand equity is. Only with strong brand equity will you be able to be the business which makes people camp outside of your stores for days waiting for the release of a new product.

Your brand equity can be strengthened or degraded through any aspect of your business, from your communications, to product performance, customer service, or even your brand name. Furthermore, developing strong brand equity is a significant task for all businesses, as it is what allows your brand to be considered by consumers in the first place during a purchasing decision. So here are 4 ways in which you can ensure your business is focused on the right sort of brand equity development.

1. Quality Products and Services

Your market offering is the backbone of your whole brand, so ensure that you are able to deliver a quality product to your consumers, otherwise it is highly unlikely that you will get a repeat purchase from them.

This may seem like an obvious tip; however businesses in all industries fall for the trap whereby they release products for the sake of appearing as if they are innovating. If you release a product in the market which isn’t fully tested and not of high quality, this can be the easiest way to erode your brand equity.

Ensure that any product or service you bring out into the market brings something new to your business’ portfolio, rather than just bulking it up.

2. Competitive Analysis

A strong brand which occupies a positive space in the minds of consumers is one which is adaptable to market shifts as well as one which offers something new into the market.

In order to be such a brand, ensure that you are always on the lookout for industry trends and your competitors’ activities, as you need to ensure your brand operates in a unique space of the industry, and is not one which merely follows in the footsteps of others.

Targeting a niche is an effective way for brands to build their brand equity as you are meeting a specific need which no one else currently is. This exudes innovative thinking and understanding of your consumers, which are key to a strong brand.

3. Consistent Brand Image

One of the most important aspects of your brand is the image which you are communicating to your consumers. Once you have been able to understand the market and know your place within it, you need to communicate that in a consistent and engaging manner.

Your brand strategy is developed by a number of aspects from your brand name, to your social media posts, pricing, and your products, to name a few. If you are operating within the premium segment of your industry, ensure that your products and retail channels reflect that, with highly refined and targeted brand messaging and communications.

Set your brand image from the get-go and shape your business accordingly. One of the greatest examples of maintaining a strong and consistent brand image is Apple. Every touch point consumers have with the brand expresses their brand – imagination, simplicity, and understanding consumer needs. From their easy-to-use products, to highly navigable stores, and their communications strategies, everyone knows what the Apple brand stands for.

It is all about consistency. Once consumers see that you know where you stand in the market and are confident with your own image, they will begin to believe it as well.

4. Listen to Customers

As your brand equity inherently resides in the minds of your consumers and audiences, it would be extremely wise to actively listen to their needs and wants.

Ensure that you give your consumers as many channels to give their feedback as possible. These types of messages will help you understand your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth; which is the most valuable information you could ever receive as a business.

 

Understanding your brand equity and how to develop it is important any stage of business growth. You must be able to capture a positive appearance in your consumer’s minds if they are to become repeat customers, or become a part of your referral strategy at any level on the ladder of customer loyalty. Then you can strengthen your brand and actually, seriously, grow.

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How to Upgrade Underperforming Team Members

I was in a meeting with one of my clients who was having a problem with one of his team members. The conclusion that he was arriving at was that he needs to motivate more and then the person would perform better.

To make sure he was making the right decision when it came to what kind of input would be required, I showed him this framework. As soon as he saw this framework, he realised that he didn’t actually need to “motivate” this person…

Once you place your team members within this framework that I have explained, you can then clearly see which strategies you should be using to get them to perform to the best of their ability in your business.

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:

The Framework

Hi this is Shweta from The London Coaching Group.

What I want to share with you today is a framework, which will help you unlock higher performance from your team.

Now, I was in a meeting with one of my clients and he was having a problem with one of his team members. And we were sitting down and looking at different possibilities, and the conclusion he was arriving at was that he just needs to motivate this particular person a little bit more. And hopefully the person will start performing more.

Now that’s fine, but just to make sure he was making the right decision in terms of the input that was required by the team, I shared with him a framework and as soon as the client saw the framework, he was like; “I don’t need to motivate this person, he needs more directive management.”

Now that’s very interesting, so let’s have a look at the framework because it might help you understand that what input is required for what team member, because that’s what makes a huge difference in management, and helping people achieve their best. So let’s have a look.

The Two Axes

So, simple two axis as you can see – on the horizontal axis what you put is “H”. And I’m really keeping it very simple, basically “Hard Work”. On the vertical axis, it’s “Competence”.

So this is the capability of working hard, putting in those hours or running those laps. And the vertical axis is basically the competence, the intelligence, the capability that the person has for their role.

The Quadrants

Now if I draw a simple grid here, you have this. If a team member is not showing competence in terms of what they are doing, and also they are not putting in those laps – then this is something called “IB” or “Iceberg”. 

What that means is that you look at this person and you’re hoping that they will show you more than what’s visible right now. And maybe they will start performing and start being more competent, and that’s the whole. Because over the surface, you’re not seeing much. And you just want to want to see more.

Now, this person who is actually willing to work very hard and they are the ones who will put in whatever hours it takes and they are motivated and they are driven, they are keen but you know that there’s a ceiling in terms of their intelligence or in terms of their competence. And what you’d call these people is “WH”or “Work Horse”. So they are the keen people, but there’s only so much, there is a capability constraint.

Now, this section is quite an interesting one and actually relatively a bigger problem and more prevalent in businesses, and you call these people “Problem Child”. What that means is that they are competent individuals, and smart and intelligence individuals but it’s more like; “I know what I have to do, you can’t tell me better what I already know.” And they do not want to put in that work which is required for them to move into this quadrant.

And this quadrant obviously is the one where I’m sure you would want your team to be, and the point that you need to understand here is that if a person is high on competence, but not willing to put in that hard work which is required, then they are still sitting in the Problem Child quadrant. Which is not a great place to be at, but if somebody is even 5.1 here and 5.1 here, the person is actually here which is your “Star.” Right? So they are competent and they can work hard and obviously the higher the levels, you have your superstars.

The Right Quadrant for You

Now what you want as a leader, or manager is you want your Problem Childs to become Stars, and you want your Work Horse people to move up and become stars as well. For Icebergs, now in terms of what you need to do for people who are sitting here, you need to do something dramatic. It’s about changing their environment, maybe the way they are sitting, maybe with whom they are sitting. It’s just shifting something so that it’s disruptive in that sense.

But if things are not changing, they are not improving – it’s exit. And it’s for you to then evaluate saying “Where did you go wrong in your recruitment process?” Something was not right, you didn’t evaluate the candidate properly and it should not happen often. It should be a one-off case actually, and the client that I was talking about – the team member was this. Very keen, very willing to work as hard as required, but not really moving up.

Now that person does not really require that nice motivational conversation, this person requires directive management – where you need to tell them where to channel their energies, their efforts, they need that direction because they are willing to do the hard work right?

For Problem Child, that’s an interesting one – the more you try to motivate them, the more they will find intelligent logics and reasons why they are not doing what they have to do. For them multiple things can be done, but I’ll just give you one thing. What you would need to tell them is basically you need to embarrass them into action. You need to shake them up by saying “Is this the best that you can do?” Because they get the message, and they don’t like that. Because in their mind, their benchmarks are quite high for themselves. And they don’t like to listen to that kind of statement, and either they will have a breakdown or a breakthrough. Most probably breakthrough, if you position that embarrassment into action strategically, and know when to do it and how to do it.

And obviously people who are here, they need to know that they are your stars. You need to tell them that you really value them, and whether it’s your training requirements, whether you’re guiding them properly, telling them to channel their energies – the idea is to keep moving them up.

Conclusion

So I hope that helps you to understand what inputs are required for who, and really putting your people here and helping your overall team to move in this quadrant because you know what the fact is, that your business is as good as your weakest link.

So with that, see below and you can find out more about what we do and also how we can help you and your team to perform at their best level, so that your business could achieve higher results.

 

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Business Reading: Know Your Values

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The Values Factor is based on some great research done by Dr. John Demartini and I find that it really does unlock a lot of ways that you could be finding more fulfilment not only in your business, but in the rest of your life as well.

It contains a great questionnaire that I highly recommend you go through to help you highlight what is really important to you.

The rest of the book starts to explain why your values will help you achieve success. To me, this book also massively underlines that when you try to work with someone else – especially in a business context – you need to make sure you are conveying your values, but also putting them in the context of the other person’s values.

When you start understanding what drives the actions of your colleagues, or your customers, or your partner, you can really start to have very successful relationships in all areas of your life and business.

Have a plan to take steps towards fulfilling those values?

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When you understand your values, you then need to start looking at how your actions are taking you where you actually want to go.

Come to our Strategic Growth Intensive and create a solid plan for massive growth over the next quarter for your business.

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