At Power Tynan we constantly consider and talk about the rapid change and development within a forever changing business environment and landscape. How do you as a business owner cope with change? How do you build a team that embraces change? How do you plan to ensure you sustain your competitive advantage? More importantly how do you plan for success? What I would like to consider and present in this edition of My Say is what capabilities as a leader you need to possess in order to build a high performance business and bridge the gap between capability and success.
The Mindshop Business Leader Survey 2018 revealed ten capabilities leaders need to focus on as a foundation for success. Whilst these fundamental capabilities don’t substantially change from year to year, leaders should embrace lifelong learning to hone their skills and ensure they can guide their business and team members to improve over the year ahead. Building new capabilities provides you a ‘ticket to the game’ as a business leader but does not automatically guarantee your success.
1. Personal Focus - Staying focused as a business leader can be assisted by setting a ‘theme’ for the year. This could be: ‘profitable growth’, ‘leveraging a quality team’ or ‘consolidation’. Within this frame, the creation of measurable and realistic targets will keep you on track, ensuring you avoid wasting time on activities that do not demonstrably and positively impact on the achievement of goals.
2. Talent Management – Coaching and developing people is the number 1 skill required by leaders in 2018. ‘Improving the quality of your team’ was the number one way of freeing capacity, and ‘keeping good team members’ the number one concern for business leaders. It’s clear the importance of a visible leader, leading by example has never been so important. Engaging team members, especially millennials needs to be a focus for leaders to help drive growth and profit goals in 2018.
3. Short-Term Strategy - Development of both short and long-term strategies provides businesses the agility to react to rapidly changing circumstances without losing sight of actions to ‘future-proof’ the business and achieve long-term goals.
Quickly address issues and opportunities as they arise by having in place processes that allow rapid identification and timely response to change, such as regular ‘state of the nation’ meetings, daily huddles and open door policies.
4. Long-Term Strategy - To have an effective long-term strategy, business leaders need to have the ability to:
- Have an understanding of emerging trends across the political, economic, socio-cultural and technological spectrum plus factors ‘closer to home’ in their industry and locale
- Develop a clear 3-5 year vision for the business and articulate ‘why’ you do what you do
- Understand best practice globally, compare yourself to key competitors and industry leaders
- Combine these three insights with what you’ve learned during short-term strategy implementation, plus your overall vision and goals to ensure long-term strategies stay on track.
5. Empowering Leadership - A great leader has the ability to drive change in fast-moving markets, empowering staff to achieve their best by being on the front-line and leading by example. Empowering leaders challenge and support rather than control and blame, ensure the business and team are change ready, implement and uphold a fantastic culture, conduct decision-making through the lens of core values and finally have processes in place to assist with effective people management.
6. Effective Communication –Elements include:
- Good listening—at the core of emotional intelligence, being able to set aside prejudices to really understand what is being said is the mark of a real leader
- Powerful questioning—an essential skill for all leaders especially in sales situations to understand the true nature of an issue and frame how an offer can assist a customer
- Facilitation—make the most of the time spent in operational meetings with great facilitation skills. Draw out ideas and address issues in a timely way where everyone feels they’ve contributed.
7. Time Management - Successful leaders often demonstrate great time efficiency. Being able to successfully prioritise high value activities not only in your work, but also in your personal life means you will guard your valuable time carefully and make the most of every day.
8. Problem Solving - Help team members and clients by having the skills to fix problems in a timely manner. Having quality conversations and asking great questions to better understand business opportunities and challenges is a great starting point but will only get you so far without structured tools. Consider Now – Where – How, where are you NOW, WHERE you want to be and then come back to developing strategies and actions as to HOW you will get there.
9. Implementation and Coaching - Change is a fact of life, but with only 30% of change projects successfully implemented, the ability to quickly determine what’s working and what’s not is critical. Look at using implementation and coaching tools such as a Change Success Model, hone your coaching skills to get the most from your team and have a consistent approach to assist implementing change.
10. Early Adoption of Technology - Being an early adopter of technology, means you’re never one to risk all by being the first to do something, but instead you look at the technology emerging around you to review how it could make your life more efficient and more valuable to customers. With the rapid rate of change, you cannot avoid being a technology early adopter and still hope to grow your business.
Possessing these capabilities alone does not guarantee success. Leaders must embark on a journey of continuous improvement, self-reflection, skill development, planning, planning, planning and ability to ‘live in the in-between’ in our forever changing environment. Whether it be legislation change, strategy adjustment, key personnel issues or personal issues, we as business leaders need to ensure we possess capabilities and ensure we have the tools in our toolkit to face challenges head on to show the path to our teams and ensure success.
As mentioned in the last edition of My Say, we have partnered with Mindshop to develop the SME Research Report for 2017/2018. This easy to read report provides insights into the opinions and concerns of business owners, and details how many SME’s are surviving and thriving in the current environment. To obtain a copy or discuss the insights in the report please contact your adviser today.