Our team is a powerful force – there is over 360 years of solid business experience bundled in it.
We have a lot of in-depth knowledge about what it takes to align, execute and renew faster than the competition and we have some clear views, based on our experiences in a broad range of businesses. Read our views below on some of the key questions that business leaders ask themselves.
Nicole is a multi-lingual, masterful coach and facilitator, who designs, tailors and runs highly effective development programmes for teams and senior executives.
Leadership in the 21st Century is working under changed parameters. Hierarchies are getting flatter, the environment, markets and technologies are changing at an ever-increasing rate. Companies that want to be around for the long term need to adapt at the same speed. Without engagement of the whole workforce, this is very hard. The coach approach to leadership – as many of our clients are finding out – fosters that engagement and creates an environment where people find it easy to solve problems creatively, show up to work motivated and look for and identify opportunities.
A company’s attitude to failure defines it and the progress it can make. If failure is encouraged as a way of learning and improving – ensuring you don’t repeat the same mistakes again and again – you create an environment, where your people are willing to have a go and expect to develop. If you add to that, analysis of success, you are taking your people and your business to a different level of competitive advantage. It never ceases to amaze us how few of our clients apply this approach before they start working with us – and the difference it makes, once they do so.
Andrew is an experienced, successful senior executive who coaches and mentors owners and entrepreneurs, in a broad range of businesses, to achieve greater clarity and better results.
For long term competitive edge, consistency of performance is a crucial pre-requisite. Alignment to strategy is also critical and depends on effective communication and engagement with your people, right across the business. Many of our clients know this – but doing it is a different matter.
When you enable your people to really grasp their role in delivering the strategy, you will see the evidence, not just in performance but, in flexibility, innovation and commitment – all key elements of your competitive edge.
Highly successful businesses have great clarity about – (a) how they make money and (b) the value they deliver to their customers.
Sadly, we’ve lost count of the number of business owners and leaders that have been unable to tell us where their profits come from – i.e. which clients, services, products, etc. and/or what their customers truly value in the products/services they buy.
By implementing very effective systems and processes to ensure you always know how well you are doing against these criteria for value and profit – and by being ruthless in tackling any situations that are out-of-line – you will leave your competitors in your wake.
Chris is a business manager with an invaluable blend of technical and financial experience that enables him to assist clients to translate complex ideas into financially sound strategies.
By adequate we mean: having what you need – plus sufficient contingency and flexibility – to satisfy your strategic intent. That’s about the measures you have in place, your benchmarks, flexibility and how rigorous you are in your attention to detail.
In our experience most organisations are able to find ways to reduce headcount, assets, expenditure, etc. when necessary, often with a beneficial effect after the pain. In other words, there’s usually some excess capacity in the business – a competitive disadvantage.
We find that, even when there is no “spare” capacity, with the right leadership and application of resources – clearly aligned to the strategy – highly effective organisations are always able to “do more with less”.
Yes – you do need all three and most business leaders would agree. A harder question, that many of our clients do not consider until we arrive, is: what is right for OUR business given our strategy?
To have the capability to be competitive over the long term, we have found you need all three elements present at the same time. Therefore, we work with our clients to evaluate what they will need in terms of liquidity, cash flow and capital, so that they will have the financial foundation and flexibility to support the development of their people and operations that will deliver their growth strategy.
Cliff is a straight talking expert in B2B marketing, with more than 26 years’ experience in major advertising agencies and running his own B2B marketing business. Author of Why you? book on B2B Marketing.
In short: if it is helping you hit the business growth targets you set out when defining your marketing strategy. If you didn’t do this then you’ll probably never know.
Marketing is measurable. All of it. Thanks to the advances in technology, the old adage: ‘50% of our marketing works – but nobody knows which 50%’ belongs to ancient history – and the marketing executives that tell you that, belong there, too.
For quite a few of the clients we get introduced to, this is a big surprise and – once they’ve got over the shock – a big relief. They can now plan their budgets and campaigns knowing exactly what they are getting for their buck and, with the right outside help, they can be confident of their return on investment.
Research has shown that if you want to outrun your competition in the long term, you need to align, implement and renew faster than them – consistently. Pretty scary prospect. The market, industry and development knowledge you need to do this well is awesome. Therefore, you need to involve all your stakeholders – internal AND external – in helping you gain and process that knowledge, so you can apply it to developments that appeal both to your current market and new markets – and continue to do so in the years to come.
Hilary is an international executive and leadership coach and a former board-level director with more than 30 years of experience.
Alignment of the whole organisation behind your vision and strategy is a “must” for a business aiming to be in the game for the long term.
We often find that senior executives assume their whole organisation knows what they know – and understands the purpose and direction of the business. They have communicated via “Town Hall” meetings, press releases, and brochures and there are posters all over the company.
However, they usually discover that a robust process to engage their people in understanding their vision, mission and strategy is necessary to enable the whole organisation to grasp what they are aiming to achieve. Once their people understand what that means in their individual roles there’s a tangible change in commitment, engagement and performance.
Organisational capability – understanding the operational needs of today and the business you are aiming to become, ensuring you have the right talent in the right roles now and in the future, managing and developing your people to fit the bill today and tomorrow – is business critical for long term competitive edge.
Some of the C-Suite executives we meet have this in hand but many declare their concerns about how well they are addressing this. We usually find a lack of rigorous systems and processes that ensure follow-through on strategic intent and short term operational pressures get in the way of the necessary long term analysis, planning and implementation.
Liam is an experienced FD and CFO, able to provide strategic perspectives and with a laser-like focus on the effectiveness of the finance function within the business.
When people really understand how the financial ramifications of their decisions impact on overall business performance, they make better decisions.
In our experience, many senior executives leave what they perceive as “the financials” to the FD/CFO and their finance team.
However, understanding the basics of financial “cause and effect” and sharing that with all their people, allows your leaders to use a common language to communicate with each other and their teams, thereby underpinning strong teamwork. It also allows you and your leaders to evaluate the effectiveness of their financial decisions against the outcomes you have agreed.
Rigorous standards of financial management start with clarity about what information is needed by the business as a whole. What will support you in delivering the strategy, staying alert to deviations from plan, responding to unexpected or unanticipated events? This is a leadership responsibility. An effective finance function will translate these business imperatives and put in place appropriate systems, processes and standards that are attuned to the needs of the business (not just the finance team). Operational leaders should then be accountable for ensuring the systems and standards are understood by their people and used effectively.
Margit is a change agent who leads and facilitates change in a dynamic, intuitive and collaborative way, to bring about improved performance and results.
A lot of companies focus on and measure efficiency (doing the thing right) – what they forget is that unless they are effective (doing the right thing) first, efficiency can lead into trouble. Imagine being very efficient at doing the WRONG thing… you’d get exactly where you least want to be – fast.
A lot of what we do with clients is about helping them to understand – and implement – that difference. This leads to increases in productivity and motivation and makes a real contribution to the bottom line.
Clarity of role is usually taken for granted. People received a job description when you hired them, didn’t they? (Did they?) How long have they been in your employ? How much has their role changed since then? How much has their environment changed since then? When did you last review specifically what is within/without their remit?
Those are the questions we discuss with many of the senior Executives of our clients – and the answers are not always what they need to be. Working with our clients to help them get those answers right, makes a big difference to their businesses.
Michelle Chan is a leadership coach, facilitator and mindfulness practitioner. She is a talented award winning engineer and has been a successful business leader for over 20 years.
Learning to collaborate creatively with people from different cultures is a crucial skill in today’s business environment. I have personally worked in a team with Chinese, Indian, English, Germans and Americans, all part of a global multi-national corporation, who were developing new products for a global market. In my experience, the key is to find a balance between noticing cultural differences and taking opportunities to identify similarities. This can be achieved by cultivating our beginner’s mindset through curiosity; opening our heart with empathy and having the courage to move out of our habitual way of doing and being. This cultural metacognition is a skill that can be learned and improved with practice.
When you move from a senior role to top management, you have to move out from your familiar role as a specialist, an analyst, a warrior and tactician and become more of a generalist, integrator, diplomat and strategist. The skill, behaviour and mindset that got you this far are unlikely to be the requisite skills and mindset for top management. You have to cultivate your growth mindset. This means you will start by learning to lead and eventually you will be leading to learn. With your growth mindset you will be open to new ways of working and you will become more flexible in your approach as you let go of a lot of well-built patterns and enhance your mental space to facilitate new ways of being.
Paul is a very rare combination – a brilliant technical mind, who is passionate about ensuring alignment of systems with your organisation’s strategy and a skillful coach making sure your people optimise your systems to deliver what you really need to achieve operationally.
Markets and technologies are changing at an ever-increasing rate and businesses risk losing out to competitors who adapt faster or bring disruptive innovation to the market. Facing that uncertainty head on and taking the lead in using it to your advantage is the key to a highly successful modern business.
Often companies act as if it’s possible to know and predict everything; responsive companies instead value not knowing and have controlled processes that allow rapid experimentation and learning to produce exceptional business agility. In conjunction, when you encourage your people to respond to change innovatively, you’ll be surfing the waves of change while your competitors are drowning.
Systems are created by people; people that are often several steps away from the strategy and motivated by other factors. This kind of poor communication leads to inefficient systems that are difficult to change and, in the worst case, cause the strategy to fail from poor implementation.
Successful companies ensure that the strategy and the value it brings to the company are clearly understood by their people and when you make that relevant and show people how they can contribute, you not only get systems that effectively support your strategy, you get motivated staff and innovative ideas for an even better business.
Paul is a recognised L&D specialist and consultant on performance improvement. He has two well-regarded books on the subject and is a public speaker much in demand.
The words capability and competence are used with a variety of meanings, and sometimes even interchangeably with the same meaning.
Competence is about knowledge and skill. However, having the aptitude or the proficiency to carry out an activity or task does not necessarily mean a person is capable of completing it. There are many things that can render someone incapable of doing a task in front of them. Maybe it is something in their environment that is missing, for example they do not have a special tool or the right spare part, or maybe something within them is missing, that is they do not have the enough knowledge or skill.
Capability is a much wider concept than competence. In order for someone to be capable, they must be competent to perform the task and the environment they are within must also have what they need to perform the task. So many people talk about capability when in fact they really mean competence, and this leads to all sorts of miscommunication, particularly between L&D and operations people.
Performance depends on people being capable in the moment of doing what needs to be done. That is, they can respond adequately to the task they have been delegated to do. If they can get the task done successfully, they are deemed to perform. If they are not capable of doing the task for some reason, they are deemed to be not performing.
Therefore in order to deal with performance issues, it is necessary to look at the barriers to capability in the moment when people are at the point of work. The barriers arise when there is something lacking in terms of knowledge, skills, mind-set, physiology and environment. It is only by identifying and removing all such barriers that you can enable your people’s capability to perform. This is the basis of getting the best performance out of your people.
Shaz’s expertise in sales leadership and sales training empowers clients to maximise the effectiveness of sales forces. He delivers sustainable results that ensure bulging pipelines.
Nothing happens in business until somebody sells something.Your customers want the highest quality at the lowest prices. That increases demand on your value chain and the challenge becomes how to develop intense customer relationships, underpinned by well-understood sales processes.
Accordingly, delivering outstanding sales performance is now far bigger than your sales force. Your whole workforce needs to understand that everything they do contributes to the quality of your customer relationships and hence the value your customers perceive in doing business with you. How you leverage every part of your organisation’s strengths to deliver the top-line of the income statement today, defines the size and pace of your growth or decline.
Business goals and sales strategy are interwoven. The leader at the top of every organisation is the most influential sales person in that business. Leadership is responsible for educating the sales people to understand the way in which the sales strategy supports the business goals.
Hiring and training the right sales talent is as important as having the right team in the C-suite. Therefore, with the right talent, collaborating effectively and understanding each other’s objectives, you will have a sales force that understands its role and accepts its responsibilities for delivering your strategy. This will deliver you the sales performance necessary for a long term competitive business.
William is a recognized expert in collaboration for business, uncovering insights that build performance and embedding implementation capability.
Long term competitive edge requires consistent high performance AND alignment, execution and renewal that are consistently faster than the competition. Without effective collaboration with both internal and external stakeholders your chances of getting anywhere near the levels of performance and adaptability you require are pretty slim – as many of the Executives approaching us have found.
Effective collaboration has its roots in clarity (about role, task and authority), transparency, accountability and effective communication – in short: it depends on people with the right mindset.
If collaboration is optional, it often doesn’t happen. The same goes for communication. Or rather it happens in pockets between people who ‘get on’ – which looks like a good place to start, but it actually isn’t, as businesses we get to know have found out at quite some cost. It creates silos, ‘friendships’, networks based on personal preference, which usually lead to disenfranchisement of people excluded from those pockets.
All of this gets in the way of a constructive, professional working culture and climate, which fosters engagement, effective feedback and collaboration. So let go of the illusion that ‘collaboration happens between good people’ – it only does if it is facilitated and fostered by structures and processes that create a highly collaborative attitude.