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

Our Top 10 Articles of 2015

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Happy New Year! I hope you have had a fantastic 2015 and that you are looking forward to an even greater 2016.

This is usually a moment to stop and reflect on the year gone by. See what worked really well, what goals were met and what needs improving. (That’s why we do run the Strategic Planning Day early in the New Year!)

In this vein, we thought it would be a good idea to reflect on the blog and highlight our top 10 articles from this year.

These were articles most read and enjoyed by our readers – so if you missed one of them, might be worth having a read as you take on the new year.

10. Stop Giving Feedback to Your Team

9. Why UK SMEs Struggle to Get a Bank Loan

8. 3 Reasons Why You Should be Targeting A Niche

7. The Biggest Mistake Made When Hiring a New Employee

6. Why Business Owners Are Like Icebergs

5. Why You Shouldn’t Manage Your Team

4. Business Reading: You Could Be Wasting 80% of Your Time

3. Markup vs. Margin – And the Winner is…

2. The 3 Signs of a Broken Team Model

1. Death of an Entrepreneur: 3 Pieces of Advice for Business Owners

Hope you enjoy reading those. Happy New Year once again, and may 2016 bring you all the accomplishment you desire!

Ready for 2016?

business coaching london business planningHave you prepared your business for 2016? Do you have a clear plan for growth? Are you confident you and your team can actually achieve everything this year?

If you would like to find out how it is that business coaches ensure that you achieve success – through planning in the right way – consider coming along to the Strategic Planning Day coming up very soon!


Increase Willpower by Simplifying

I came across an article, which I thought I would share. This is one of those studies on the way our brain works that is important to understand if you want to start achieving even more of your goals.

After all, the New Year is coming up and even though those of us who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than those who don’t, 92% of us are headed towards failing to achieve our resolutions this year.

So how do you become one of those 8% who achieve their goals year on year? The answer is in understanding how your brain works, and how to nurture and utilise your willpower, which I explain in this video.

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 London Coaching Group, I recently came across a very interesting article and wanted to share that with you.

An Example of a Case Study

So there was this study which was done with a class of undergraduates, and they were split into two groups. One group was asked to memorise a two digit number, and the second group was asked to memorise a seven digit number. And then both of the groups were asked to go out and take a walk in the hall. When they came back, they were offered a slice of cake, and a bowl of fruits as options. Now surprisingly, the group which had to memorise the seven digit number was twice as likely to pick up a slice of cake than the bowl of fruits.

What Makes Willpower So Important?

Now why it’s important for you to understand this is because in your business, when you have to achieve goals, you need willpower. And the part of the brain which is actually responsible for that willpower, or takes care of that willpower – is located right behind your forehead. And that is called pre-frontal cortex, now this part of the brain is actually responsible for short-term memory to keep you focused, to give you strong willpower, to deal with abstract information and make it more granular.

Now what happens generally is that when you are setting your goal, if it’s not specific enough, if it’s abstract or if it’s too much or too big. Then there is a cognitive overload, for this part of the brain. And in that case, willpower suffers.

Abstract vs. Reality

So going forward, if you are really committed to achieving your business goals or personal goals – the distinction that you need to make is rather than focusing on abstractions, you need to focus on some very simple specific behaviours which actually helps your brain to bring in that willpower to support you, to achieve that goal. So for example, if you say just at a personal level – “I need to become healthier”, or “I would like to have a better, fitter body.” 

Instead of that, if you tell your brain and you actually be very clear that a simple behaviour that I need to have is to go out for a three minute walk after dinner, the chances of you being strong and having a stronger willpower is a lot higher compared to being abstract. And that’s when your brain comes in to the picture and supports you with your goal achievement.

Want an achievable plan for next year?

business coaching london strategic planningWhy do business owners think that in order to achieve their goals, they should sit down and plan alone?

Having experienced business coaches working directly with you on your plan for the next year is guaranteed to be beneficial to your business’ overall success.

Join us at our next planning day and experience it for yourself.


5 Tips to Effective Staff Training

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Not all training was made equal.

It is well known that the most successful businesses in the world all have one thing in common – they invest in their employees. Business coaches, in London especially, will tell you that a motivated and talented workforce is just as important (if not more) for success as having an in-demand offering.

It is all well and good to have a happy workforce, but investing the business’ time and resources in staff training and development will not only increase job satisfaction, but also motivate them to invest their time and effort back into the company in reciprocity.

Most of  your employees are not going to come packaged with every necessary skill for their job. You need to ensure that skill gaps are being closed by effective training programs. Much like the saying “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”, ensuring that the employees you currently have are properly prepared for their roles, is much smarter than hiring blindly and hoping for the best.

Here are 5 tips that will help you set-up the most effective workforce training program for your business.

1. Holistic

One of the misconceptions in staff training is that different departments or levels of the organisation need independent workforce training. However, the most successful training programs incorporate a holistic view, and is inclusive of every team member across the organisation.

While department-specific training is occasionally necessary, a holistic approach ensures that the organisation is galvanised around new areas of growth, and will encourage participation of the entire organisation in forwarding the ultimate business goals.

2. Hands-On

Nowadays, a great deal of training is being done digitally through webinars and screen sharing technology. However, physical training can often provide a better learning experience due to a lack of distractions and more direct engagement.

When setting up your training programs, ensure that you invest in staff training which has at least some physical aspect. Even though the investment is higher, the return will also be greater.

3. Qualified Trainers

It may seem obvious who is teaching matters as much as what is being taught.

To get the most out of your staff training, ensure that your trainers are industry experts with a wealth of experience and also have a track record of being able to teach what they know.

Your teachers should stay current on the latest trends and developments in their industry and apply that to their training. Find the latest experts, and your workforce will get the most updated training.

4. One-On-One Support

Although most workforce training sessions are done in groups, the opportunity to receive personalised support throughout the learning process can often lead to a far richer education.

As people develop new knowledge in different ways and at different paces, you need to ensure that the training efforts are flexible enough to cater to different needs of individuals within the group. One of the easiest ways to do that is to make one-on-one support accessible, perhaps through a learning system, direct contact with the trainer or coach, or through scheduled one-on-one lessons.

5. Measure Outcomes

In many ways, you need to treat employee education as a business investment. Before the training is done, make sure that you, as the business owner, know what returns you are aiming to achieve from this investment.

If the outcomes of the training are not clear to you, engage further and brainstorm your ideas with the training providers before commencement. This will also allow the trainers to alter their teaching to align with your goals.

What metrics are you using to determine the success of this staff training? You should have specific, measurable goals otherwise how do you know whether the training worked or not? And if you do, you can then clearly see the benefit to your business – and you can show the mutual benefit clearly to your employees.

 

The bottom line from these tips are that you cannot just put trainers and employees in a room and hope that miracles happen. You need to ensure that you are fostering the right type of learning environment and maximising the support for each of your employees.

Employee training is not just about team motivation or employee wellbeing. There are direct benefits to your business and you should be carefully measuring those with KPIs and follow up measurements against those KPIs.

Not all training was made equal – so make sure you are getting the best for your business.

Want more effective business advice?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionLearning how to conduct effective staff training is just one of the way business coaches help business run better and grow faster.

Get a free strategic review to find out what areas you could improve to start achieving double-digit growth.


Achieving the Work-Life Balance in 7 Simple Steps

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Achieving the work-life balance can be tough and most of us never feel like we’ve nailed the perfect compromise. But focusing on small goals and steering away from an unattainable idea of perfection, can help to make us appreciate the simpler things, such as spending time with our nearest and dearest, talking a walk in the fresh air, or listening to music. At the end of the day, a work-life balance simply boils down to how we spend the time we have each day. Keeping a few simple steps in mind to ensure that you make time for everyone important in your life (especially yourself) will help. Check out these 7 simple steps tips for achieving a work-life balance:

  1. Build time to relax into your schedule

    When you make plans for your week, make a point to schedule time with your family and friends, go to the gym, go cycling, and other activities that can help you recharge your batteries. Ensuring that you take your personal life as seriously as your work life by noting down social appointments in your calendar, will help you see the importance of both. In turn, when you’re at work, make sure to take your lunch break. When you chomp through your midday meal while staring at the screen and reading your emails, you don’t give your brain a chance to switch off. Taking a sixty minute break will leave you feeling more relaxed and more productive in the afternoon.

  1. Delegate what you can

    If you have children, try to lean on relatives for support, or your partner, day care, or hired help to collect the kids from school or take the pressure off you from time to time. While working, make sure that you learn to delegate some of the easier tasks or routine daily work that can easily be done by someone else (click here to download our collection of tips and a free tool to help make delegation easy). Learning to rescind control will keep you more focused and relaxed.

  1. Get moving 

    Make room for exercise in your life. While it can be hard to make time for a workout when you’re trying to juggle family and work, even if it’s just a brisk walk or 15 minute run, exercise releases endorphins and not only makes you happier, but gives you an energy boost, which will help you achieve other tasks throughout the day.

  1. De-stress and stop looking for everything to be perfect

    While you can plan for everything to be perfect, know that everyone else out there is probably struggling as much as you. The idea isn’t to place extra strain or guilt on yourself for not being able to spend as much time with your family as you would like; balance is about feeling happier and healthier. So lighten up and have a sense of humor when things don’t go your way.

  1. Set Limits for Yourself

    Everyone lets work take over from time to time, and sometimes it’s unavoidable, but try to set yourself limits and make a certain time each day when you stop work, turn off the computer and unwind. Not only will your body and mind feel better, but your partner will thank you for it too.

  1. Remember the importance of family

    Don’t let running a business or working hard at your job keep you from connecting with your relatives. Call your loved ones or send an email from time to time, and if you can’t fit this in, create a family website that you can easily upload photos to and make everyone feel close, even when you’re too busy to meet up.

  1. Learn to keep family feuds separate from work

    If you’re running a family business then it can be hard not to let arguments from home invade the workplace. Make sure you implement a strategy that is as professional as possible and get your space from one another as well. Working and living together can be hard, so make sure that your downtime includes some alone time as well.

Above all, remember that you don’t need to make drastic changes to bring more balance to your life. Just be mindful of the smaller things that you can do to feel better about yourself and stimulate healthier relationships.

 

Michael Peggs is the founder of digital marketing agency Marccx Media, where they specialize in SEO and Content Marketing. Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships. He is also a blogger and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy podcast You University – The Personal Branding Podcast.

Need help with your next review?

Business owners and employees seek for different things; being aware of external factors and clarity. Why not give our Strategic Planning Day a try?

As any business plan is crucial, you will be able to plan ahead for the New Year at this planning day. 


How To Be the Boss Your Employees Love Working For

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Most business coaches and management experts around the world are likely to agree that the most successful workplaces are those with high employee satisfaction – that is pretty intuitive.

One of the biggest impacts to an employee’s morale at work is their sentiment towards their superior. A workplace where the boss is able to foster a culture where people love working with, and not just for, them is a business that is ahead of the pack.

Here we explore 8 characteristics which employees look for in a boss whom they love working for:

Believe in the impossible

Most people – in the workplace and otherwise – aim for goals and achievements within their reach. However, the best bosses expect more from themselves as well as others.

People who are able to motivate themselves to believe they can achieve the impossible, and those who can inspire their employees to do the same, are the type of people the masses are drawn to.

See the opportunity in everything

When faced with issues and unexpected circumstances, most bosses’ reflex will be to see the situation as a problem that either needs solving or which needs to be waited out.

However, a person who is able to see a crisis as an opportunity for positive change and learning is someone whom others quickly develop confidence in following.

Having said this, great bosses do not only see opportunity in adversity, they will be able to see that sometimes necessary change needs to occur even when business is running smoothly.

Linking back to the believing in the impossible, a boss whom employees love working for will always look for inconceivable ways to improve the business. Why not make something good, great?

Do not be afraid to be human

Good leaders portray and exude an air of professionalism wherever they are. However great leaders are those who are also willing to show their human side.

Showing emotion is not a sign of weakness or unprofessionalism, it is human nature. If the business does well, show some excitement. If things are going poorly, show sincere disappointment, not in others but yourself. Everyone in your workplace has a human side, and you expect your friends and colleagues to showcase emotion, so why not your boss?

There is nothing more inspiring for employees than a boss who is able to share in their joys, their pain, and their worries. Showing humanity is one of a great leader’s most important weapons in winning the trust of their employees.

Help employees

It is easy for bosses to throw employees under the bus, when things go wrong. However, the leaders who are able to foresee the error coming and are able to help employees avoid (and learn from) the negative outcomes, is one who is able to win the affection and respect of their employees.

Often times, when these bosses help employees avoid major mistakes, no one will ever know they had done it, as they never seek to take credit for such actions.

Never rest on your past victories

The best and most loved bosses are those who never rest on their laurels. Regardless of what they have achieved in their careers, the most inspiring leaders are those who consistently prove themselves every single day.

These people are never too good get a little bit dirty, and no task is ever too menial. The best bosses believe that no one is entitled to anything other than what they have earned for themselves. And the best leaders know that it not just hard work, but constant self-improvement that is required for success.

Lead by permission

The best leaders know the difference between leading by authority, and leading by permission.

A title of “boss” or “manager” gives many the impression that employees are purely there to work for them. The ones whom people love working for, know the importance of having people want to work with them.

Knowing the difference is crucial in becoming a great leader. While it is important to organise your employees different from how you organise yourself, your employees should feel like they want to be working with you, not coerced into it.

Work towards a holistic goal

Great bosses will not only aim to achieve the business’ goals – they will work towards achieving a larger vision.

Whether it be to aid employees in advancing their careers, to give back to the community, or to offer meaningful help to struggling employees, great bosses work towards a vision which is larger than just the company’s profits.

The best bosses, and the ones people love to work with, are those individuals who take business personally.

Take the right risks

The best bosses are the ones who accept and respect the fact that they will have to make unpopular decisions, disappoint some people, and challenge the status quo.

These people take these risks not just to stand out, but because it is the right thing to do, and that the reward is worth it for them and everyone else.

Everyone has had a boss at some point in their career. Some will have been great, and some not so much. However it is very rare that bosses will inspire a workplace to love working with them. When you start to actively embody the characteristics above, you can become one of those rare breeds of bosses that are truly loved by their employees

Lead effectively into the New Year

free business coaching london webinarThe beginning of the new year is the best time to reflect, and set up an effective plan to achieve more in the coming year.

At this special, seasonal webinar, I reveal the proven methods for goal planning to you and my business coaching clients.

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