entrecode Blog


What do people really want from their leaders?

Marketers tell us give customers what they want and they will buy it.

The same applies to leaders, give followers what they want and they will follow you.

So what do followers want?

Research suggests three basic things:

  1. Honesty. Be straight with us; tell us as it is even if we won’t like it. Forget the spin and the power point presentations look us in the eyes and tell us the truth.
  2. Inspiration. Share your vision, give us hope, and make it worthwhile coming to work, engage our spirit and then you will see what we can do.
  3. Competence. Do what you say you will and deliver the goods. Be a good role model that we want to follow.

  4. How many leaders do you know that can deliver what people really want? Are these skills taught at business school and if not why not? How can we get our leaders to understand this stuff?

    5 ways to make a step change in your business

    Here are some lessons I have learned from helping businesses to make a step change in their performance:

    1. "The easiest way to make money is to stop losing it" so refocus your strategy, eliminate loss makers and concentrate on profitable products and customers. Tip: eliminate investments in nostalgia i.e. products you like that lose money!
    2. Conduct a customer perception survey and act on the feedback Tip: be prepared for surprises.
    3. Select a small team of your best people to work ON the business in order to boost its performance .Tip: assume nothing, leave no stone unturned, benchmark your business with the best, encourage trial and error pilots.
    4. Maximise productivity by ensuring alignment between strategic priorities and individuals key objectives Tip: ask people to review their diaries, what do they actually spend their time doing?
    5. Make sure you have the right people on the bus don't compromise Tip: ask yourself how many people produce results beyond your expectations act on the results.

    Clients who have addressed these 5 issues have made significant step changes to their businesses ... and so can you if you are up for it.

    Memorable Mentors

    In order to learn grow and develop we all need people who take a genuine interest in us and help us build our confidence and competence.

    These people are invaluable, they rarely seek or get the recognition or the thanks they deserve so I am going publicly put that right for those who have helped me.

    Raymond Elderton who saw something in me encouraged me as a teenage plumber to study and to develop myself. He suggested I had the skills to be a journalist, barrister or a management consultant and I became the latter. Ray taught me to believe in myself. Thanks Ray.

    Gerard Egan who taught me how to help organisations with strategy and business development. I lived with Gerry in Chicago for a while ( my wife thought I was crazy) and he shared his experiences with me. Priceless. A genius who gave me his time and wisdom. Thanks Gerry.

    Tim Atterton the Director of the small business centre at Curtin Business School in Perth Australia who became a sponsor of my work in Australia for a number of years and enabled me to work across that great country. The best networker I ever met.Thanks Tim.

    Finally my wife Ellen who has been a constant friend and mentor ensuring I did not start to take myself too seriously! Thanks Ellen.

    Hope I have not forgotten anybody...

    There job done. So who have been your unsung heroes....

    5 things I have learnt from working with CEO's

    I have spent the past 30 years consulting with CEO's and have noticed a number of trends.

    1. The better CEO's are usually very interpersonally skilled which enables them to gain loyalty and commitment. They understand that people want honesty, competence and inspiration from their leaders.
    2. Many are quite stressed because they have no useful management models or processes by which to run their business.
    3. Few have a robust strategy that provides focus and direction or competitive advantage.
    4. CEO's brought in from outside the business who try to apply their previous experiences to the new business often fail because they don't understand the prevailing culture and DNA.
    5. The Shadow Side of the business i.e. ego's, politics, culture and social system CEO's find the most difficult to manage but they ignore it at their peril.

    The good news is that help is at hand which is what I do as a consultant.

    5 Ways to develop a growth mindset

    High performing successful people generally have a growth mindset.

    Low performers usually have a fixed mindset.

    So how can you develop a growth mindset and increase your chances of success?

    Here are 5 ways:

    1. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new and learn to value or success or learning equally.
    2. Be inquisitive ask questions and become an expert at what you do.
    3. Get a mantra like JFDI and use it to shape your behaviour and thinking.
    4. Seek feedback and act on it.
    5. Have fun and don't take yourself too seriously.

    If you can change your mind you can change your mindset.

    So JFDI and good luck in learning to fly!

    Removing the barriers to business performance

    As a consultant I don't believe I know more than managers I just see more examples of good and bad management practice.

    A common barrier which when removed really does boost business performance is the lack of alignment between opportunities priorities plans and actions.

    Here is how to fix it:

    1. Determine the business strategy identifying key opportunities.
    2. Work out the 3/4 key actions required to deliver the strategy.
    3. Allocate actions to individuals as priorities.
    4. Review how much focus people have on their actions monthly with brutal honesty Tip: Review their calendars where they spent their time. Be prepared for a shock...then do something about it.
    5. When you get alignment between 1 to 4 above the business performance will improve

    Job done!

    How to become a great leader

    I have had the good fortune to work with some great leaders who produced results beyond expectations. So how do they do it?

    Well it’s what they do not who they are that matters. Its behavioural and it can be learned.

    Managers make the business work leaders make it better by challenging an improving things.

    Here are some of their behaviours I have witnessed.

    Great leaders set high standards and insist people live up to them. They ask "who does this best in the world" and they bring that wisdom into their business. Driving success and creating innovation are passions they all possess. Great leaders treat people with dignity and respect and behave with integrity at all times. They champion the preferred culture and ensure its non-negotiable. Building relationships with key players is a strength.

    This is what great leaders do and you can join this band of hero's, we certainly need more of them!

    The secrets of Keepmoat’s success

    I have been asked many times to try to explain why Keepmoat, my favourite client for 35 years were so successful. We made 10% net profit for 9 years running whilst the nearest competitor struggled to reach 4%.

    I had the pleasure of telling the Keepmoat story with the owner Terry Bramall recently publicly and here is what we concluded....

    Firstly we had a clear strategy that we stuck to and worked hard at delivering.

    We developed a culture where people ran the business as if they personally owned it.

    We tried to delight customers and treat all stakeholders with dignity and respect.

    We selected people very carefully and trained them in the skills we needed to run the business and rewarded them for performance.

    Many other clients would claim they do these things as well so where's the magic?

    Actually they DONT has been my experience.

    The final ingredient was Terry Bramall himself who was a fabulous leader who inspired people and had the knack of doing the right thing

    Well there it is I am very proud to have been part of it.

    A once in a lifetime experience. Job done.

    Removing the barriers to innovation

    The two main barriers to innovation are not using internal entrepreneurs and the prevailing culture. 95% of all innovations in the past 100 years have come from entrepreneurial firms of less than 20 people.

    Corporate managers usually don't have the entrepreneurial mindset to innovate. So find the entrepreneurs within and let them weave their creative magic and remove this barrier.

    The culture in many firms is power and control; rules, job descriptions, procedures, budgets, risk averse; this culture normally kills innovation. The culture in a small entrepreneurial firm is often achievement; break the rules, trial and error, now's good, seek forgiveness not permission. Innovation thrives in this culture.

    So find the entrepreneurs within, create an achievement culture and enable rather than stifle innovation. Job done.

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