Life In Lockdown Week 5

We commonly talk about how time flies,  but how do you feel about when you look back on the last 6 weeks?

Most of us will be full of mixed emotions, we have settled into remote working and may of even experienced a little period of calm, but our “make up” means we can’t stand still and are racing to look to the future and get back to normal.

The most common expression I am told now is a feeling of being very “flat” maybe as entrepreneurs we thrive on energy, innovation and vitality, to feel like we are standing still is alien and affects our tenacious spirit.

So how do we mend our mind set?

Personally, I believe that productivity feeds positivity. I set myself no more than 3 big tasks per week, but these must be tasks which will move my business forward.

I focus on the big things, the things which may get delayed due to normal demands of the business.

Just not having to travel to my office has allowed me this extra time to focus on these areas, knowing I am tackling these projects is hugely motivating for me, we all know that working ON our business is more productive than working IN it.

What is the one thing you need to do to move your business forward?

Identify 3 tasks which will move that project forward – plan these tasks into your week.

Lots of business owners tell me that they struggle to get away for a two week holiday, but most of us have not seen our offices for 36 days, perhaps we are more adaptable than we thought?

Will this “pause” teach us that some time out is valuable to reflect, and review, because if we always did what we always do, we will always get what we always got, we stand still and plateau.

This period is testing our systems and procedures and highlighting who, in our business are our “team players”, most of us are realising that there are definitely areas and habits which need to change.

What will you change?

What we cannot change this week, is lock down, use this time to focus on what you can change, what will make your business stronger?

I know I need to feel productive, healthy, balanced.

I also know I need energy from others, I tap into my support networks for this, Mastermind has been a game changer for me and many others, I believe it will remain a life line as we come out of lock down and the economy recovers.

Stay healthy, both in body and mind, be active physically and mentally, do what works for you, as you know your triggers.

Life In Lockdown Week 4

After finally coming to terms with the impact that our children may not be returning to schools before September, and our repertoires have had to include teaching at all levels. (GCSE maths and science are proving a challenge for me)

There have been noises during the past week that Schools and the premier league may now finish their timetables.

Personally, I feel that our leaders are trying to share hope and optimism, to keep us engaged with their plight in keeping everyone at home. It is easier to accept that the lockdown may be lifted within weeks rather than months.

It helps us to focus on the here and now, and not the long term which can affect our mind-set.

Some will get complacent and their commitment to the cause will lessen because a long term lockdown is too hard to face, but the thought of just a few more weeks is easier for us to bear.

My clients have all been amazing in adapting and accepting this enforced change, and remaining positive.

I am hearing that in business terms it is getting easier, I believe this is due to clarity, confidence, accepting the new norm and finding our own groove.

I believe that in the beginning we all acted a little like clones, judging our offering and services against others and trying to be someone we are not, we all know that this never works.

Again we are all different, this week feels a little flat for me, I think it is because for the last week I have felt like an outsider within my own little family, my boys are on their school Easter holidays and my husband cannot work at the moment due to new build sites being closed, leaving me the only one working in my house for two weeks.

I am lucky that I don’t struggle with self-motivation or discipline and this didn’t put me off of my stride at all, in fact I worked longer hours because I could, but it did make me look long and hard about my own working habits and priorities.

I know the next 4 days will be the same, as I listen to laughter and plans including bike rides, obstacle courses and various other activities, and feel a tinge of sadness that I cannot join them (cleaning out the garage however,  I see as a lucky escape!!!)

Others who I have seen really struggle over the last three weeks, have lept into this week with a new found positive energy, which is great to see.

How do you feel?

Many people say that you should only focus on things that you can control, and this is so true, so right now why are most of us focusing on when lockdown will cease and how will we be introduced back into normal life.

I believe it is because we are creatures of habit and want to return to our normal routines asap, this is where we feel our most comfortable. We have all been pushed out of our comfort zones and for some it has been a nudge too far.

So what can we control?

I have been working with clients in recognising, what is the one thing that will make a difference to our business, what will move us forward, what will make us stronger when we return.

If you are a retailer, what is the next season you need to be ahead of? How well stocked are you?

If you are a manufacturer, What is the next new product which will replace your current best seller? Is this yet designed?

If you are in the service industry, how can you improve your systems and processes to make it easier for your clients to buy and work with you.

I am obviously in the service industry, I have been reviewing my client on boarding system, I follow a certain flow when I first start working with a new client, it works but it is not pretty, I have wanted to improve this for a while.

I also reviewed the biggest weakness in my business, which is lead gen, this has been on my to-do list for more than a long time, but I needed space and the right experts around me to tackle this frog.

I am really pleased with the progress of this over the last three weeks, and will have moved this forward enormously by the end of the month, when new products are added to the Cloud9 menu.

Moving your business forward dosnt have to include major changes, (we have all seen enough of those for a while) but constant review and tweak is what keeps us from becoming stale and then plateauing.

Most of the new clients I meet and work with are in this situation, a business will plateau if the business owner is not continuing to grow and develop.

Old strategies stop working, it becomes harder to achieve the same revenue figures, sales dip and we can’t identify why, our mojo has moseyed on out the door, these are all common results of businesses who plateau.

Let’s focus on the right now, and what we can control.

What can you do right now, this week which will make a difference to your business?

Take each department or role, pull it apart and build it again.

Review your systems and processes.

Review your structure, are people in the right seats, have they got the right skills?

Do a skills gap analysis, remember that anyone who has been furloughed are allowed to carry out training, this is a perfect time to improve the skill set of your teams.

Don’t stand still, keep moving physically and mentally, review, tweak and go again.

Life In Lockdown Week 3

Like you, never in my 10 years of owning a business have I witnessed such mass interruption which is affecting us all in some way, either in business, personally or both.

What I have experienced in the last 14 days working closely with my clients has been really interesting.

We are all different and cope with things in our own way. What works for some won’t work for others.

I am sure that like me, you have witnessed a huge amount of panic selling across all social platforms, our inboxes are inundated with online program after program and free this and that.

Personally I feel that those early offers have fallen on deaf ears, I believe we needed the last two weeks to process our thoughts and emotions on the enforced changes, adapt to our new norm and find our groove.

I have been reassuring clients that it is ok not to have launched anything new yet, and to focus providing the very best support to their existing clients which is where my effort has been.

I feel that now more than ever our customers need to feel safe. We can play our part in helping them feel that way, by being open and honest in our communication, keeping them informed of any changes to our service and being the experts in our field, the other thing we can do is to offer them a community, now is not the time to work in Silo.

I have seen an increase in the number of people asking to join my business Facebook group – Business Bitesize.

During my Mastermind groups, I have seen where working together and sharing challenges has resulted in some fantastic opportunities for new areas of business, just by allowing others to look in, solutions have been found. Pull on your professional network right now and let them to help you adapt your business to survive this period of uncertainty.

Many clients have witnessed members of their teams really step up and support them where others have seen employees disappoint and almost push against them.

During change and adversity we value and remember the people that support us, but as leaders we recognise that people react differently and what you may be seeing from some is fear and anxiety not acts of rebellion.

Communication is everything, some of your team will need more direction and reassurance than others, some do not cope well with change and others may be experiencing personal challenges and complete isolation, you can offer support and a community by hosting team group chats.

Lots of fantastic leaders have been holding after work virtual team drinks and quizzes.

The last thing you want is your team feeling disconnected and a low morale, as when normal life resumes and it will at some point, you will need your team to return with their A game.

Keeping your team motivated and engaged is critical to the success of your come back.

Now is the time to add real value to your audience. What do they need right now that you can offer?

How can you help make their lives easier as they survive this crisis?

How can you adapt your product or service so your customers can still buy from you?

What are you learning from these weeks, that will change your business forever?

There have been some real heroes throughout this, and we will all remember their efforts.

SME’s are known for their grit and determination, business is tough at the best of times, some of us thrive on the tough times and challenge.

I have seen two types of business owners recently, one who rolls their sleeves up, embraces the change, adapts, shows flexibility and flair, who isn’t afraid to try new technology and is comfortable sharing their emotions and vulnerabilities. I do not worry about these at all as their business will grow stronger because of this pandemic.

Other business owners cannot process the fear, or push beyond the panic, they are sending out mixed messages and instead of using strategy there are pushing the hard sell. When they finally lift their head to gain a sense of clarity it will sadly be too late.

There is so much help out there right now, some will be relevant to you but lots wont, try not to listen to too many opinions as it can become conflicting.

Trust your instinct, it has gotten you this far.

Do what is right for you and what feels like the right thing.

Don’t be afraid to change the course if it is not working.

Don’t be alone, there is no need, share your emotions and be honest.

Let people help, as lots of us genuinely can and want to.

I initially got lost in the panic, and was feeling frustrated that I didn’t have an online programme to boost and protect sales. Thankfully my coach helped me see that my business will be stronger due to the support and value I was offering to my existing clients.

I feel proud at how I have and will continue to serve them, in the strength of my community and at how strong the bond has grown in my Mastermind programmes.

When life regains some resemblance of how we once knew it, I will be at peace with my actions and strength during this time.

How will you feel when you reflect?

Managing your team and productivity during lock down. Week 2

Ensuring your team stay motivated whilst remote working will be, what I believe the hardest task for many employers and leaders over the forthcoming months, especially in today’s modern world where there are so many distractions at hand.
Throw in home schooling and the situation becomes very different.

For many people and given the current circumstances, it can be difficult to resist watching the continuous live news stream, whilst attempting to work from the sofa and maybe viewing this as a little impromptu holiday.

It’s essential to consider some of the impacts incorporating remote working can have on your business. Many employees are capable of self-motivating, others need constant direction and praise. Some people will feel looked after whilst others can feel neglected. Being able to identify potential negative attributes means you can come up with a solution before any problems arise.

Motivation

For me the way your team are driven has not changed, it’s the delivery in your leadership which needs to adapt to your new model.

If you know your key workers need constant direction, review, praise and reward you still need to deliver it in this way, and there are many online tools which are perfect for this.
For others who thrive on a challenge and love autonomy, continue to give them space to be creative and innovative, whilst ensuring they feel supported and safe.

Effective leaders are able to adapt to their environment and also between leadership styles to suit their audience and circumstances.

Encourage your team to create a light and comfortable working area, free of distractions. Ensure they are adhering to the health and safety requirements ie, enough space, the right chair, and arm monitors to eradicate further health problems later on when you will need them to be on their A game. This may be a long road, so ensure everything from the offset it comfortable and working.

The task of leader’s to keep your team motivated and productive is no mean feat.
So, does leading remotely require new skillsets? Or maybe even new mind-sets?
Change is difficult for some, we are all experiencing unprecedented change which can cause fear, anxiety and abnormal behaviour for many members of your team.
I used the expression the other day, give your team a cuddle! Whatever personality type you have, your team right now need to feel involved, valued, trusted, safe and part of your team. Check in on them, show them you can be flexible and realistic.
I asked a dozen remote workers on Monday how they were being lead, the majority confirmed that they felt they had the right level of support and therefore wanted to prove they could be just as productive at home as their normal desk.
Leaders willing to accept that this is not normal circumstances, the normal strict 9-5pm regime may not be necessary for everyone’s role, those willing to accept that employees with young children will need flexibility and understanding and may need to reduce their working hours or work in chunks of time rather that a continuous 7.5hr day.
The ones who were not showing signs of commitment were not receiving the cuddles………………………..
Communication

As I mentioned above communication will be the foundation of any remote working set up and especially within teams. If you don’t communicate effectively at all levels, remote workers will feel unimportant, uninvolved and will, in turn, lack motivation.

As always, openness and transparency is critical. Be honest with your team about what you expect, and the end result, share the vision and get everyone on-board.
Set boundaries and encourage feedback and discussion. Make it easy for your remote team to ask questions so they have a crystal-clear understanding of everything that’s going on. This minimises room for error.

I suggest a morning and evening team check in, depending on how large your organisation is will depend on the number of people involved and the number of teams they belong to, ie management team, team they lead, sales team.
This encourages people to share their feelings and any fears on the latest Covid19 announcements, a problem shared early morning stops the fear from affecting their productivity all day.
The check in’s show you care, and help you stay in the loop and on top of projects.

Accountability

One of the biggest lingering concerns for remote workers is accountability. How do managers effectively supervise their remote workers without them feeling micromanaged?

Using accountability tools such as Sococo, Slack, Trello, and Asana can help you to keep on track. They give you the opportunity to monitor the progress of projects and tasks, set up workflows that demonstrate your ongoing contributions as well as establish the remote working culture moving forward.

The most obvious way to hold your team accountable is progress reports, and KPI’s, this should be no different to how you usually hold your team accountable.
KPI’s (key performance indicators) allow for transparency as there can be no hiding.

eg.
No of Calls
No of conversions
No of complaints
No of 5* ratings
No of non-compliance issues.

All team members should be required to submit weekly KPI, s which allows you to monitor performance and productivity, if the same measurements were in place prior to remote working you will have a good comparison to track productivity.

Technology

One of the most important ways in which leaders can improve their work with remote teams is to use technology effectively, however many of us are not confident in using the vast array of tools which are now available in business.

As a leader you cannot get left behind the technology train, new apps and productivity tools are being launched all of the time. You might not be aware of them but your competitors are. You will also add value to your own role by introducing them into your organisation, as many tools can reduce labour costs.

A critical skill set required by leaders of remote teams involves linking together people, work and technology.

Incorporate productivity software to your business such as Slack, Trello, Focus Booster and Asana

Wellbeing

Looking after your wellbeing is absolutely crucial at a time like this. Not just for the sake of yourself but also for others. Focusing on your mental health is equally as important too. You should set yourself out a similar day to as you would at the office – this includes taking breaks and not over-dazzling yourself just because your laptop is at hand.

Get yourself outside (where applicable) in the fresh air. Whilst isolating, you’re still able to exercise once per day and the fresh air will be extremely important to your mental health, especially if you’re cooped up inside for the majority of the day.

Socialising is still incredibly important – even if it’s not face to face. Keeping in touch with co-workers, friends and family will really aid in boosting your positivity, making you more likely to be able to focus on your work.
Eat well and stay hydrated. Working from home is the perfect time to meal-prep, plan your meals and keep up with drinking the recommended daily water intakes.

Employees may begin to feel isolated and this is proven to cause anxiety. Reassuring yourself and other people will put their mind at ease, making yourself and/or your colleagues much more productive.

If you/your colleagues/employees are used to working together – the new set up might, at first, be strange. Remote working isn’t conductive to building meaningful relationships with co-workers in the same way that working in the office is. Suggest member of your team ‘’buddy up’’ and check in with each other 2/3 times a day.

Teamwork

When working remotely, teamwork is important to help with group projects, boosting morale and ensuring that every task is completed quickly and efficiently.

You should promote self-management because some people struggle with a lack of managerial presence and without this, your team will find it hard to know where to turn to with struggle. If you encourage teamwork, natural dynamics will form and the group can solve problems, delegate tasks and help each other perform well.

Magnifying motivation will really help to boost your team’s effort. Encouraging team events such as weekly catch ups or lunchtime chat breaks and perhaps even introducing remote teambuilding exercises such as quizzes and games (charades is a personal favourite of mine!).

Control and Trust

Touching on many of the points I’ve listed above, control and trust come hand in hand when you’re remote working.
As a leader you need to trust your decisions and have self-control, it is just as important that you maintain control within your team but also display trust and enable them to manage themselves.

Practice substituting control with communication. As above, communication is key with anything. Too much control can sometimes lead to workers ‘’gaming’’ the system. They’ll feel motivated to find ways to produce numbers whether or not the impact on the business is positive.

Think mentoring, less managing. Trust empowers teams to feel better about themselves, make faster decisions and take responsibility for what they do. Too much ‘’checking in’’ may lead to the feel like they’re being undermined. You hired that individual because you thought you were capable of the job, right? Let them do it.

If I could bottle this, I would be a millionaire!!

As a business owner of 9 years, I recognise the emotions we feel on a day to day basis.

Running a business is not for the faint hearted. It takes tenacity, strength and self-development.

A business owner can only grow as far as its owner’s skills and knowledge (in my opinion)

We often reach a ceiling which we cannot push beyond because we have put a lid on our own achievements.

Your business may be standing still but what about you?

Generally when we hit the ceiling we will either sink or swim.
Some will blame, as we love to blame (especially at the moment with Brexit) others will use excuses. I often hear that “It wasn’t my fault, if only I had a better team, or more loyal customers”

Some will enter denial, and fail to admit that there is a problem at all.

Only this morning, I read an article in my local paper. It was a hard knock story about a coffee shop which is likely to be closed by Christmas, due to the extortionate town centre rates and lack of development by the council.

This sort of story gets me going. The coffee shop owner has clearly entered all of the three emotions above. Blame, excuses and denial.

Retail is tough but so is any business if you stop trying.

I would love to introduce that businessperson to a thriving coffee shop who focuses on what is important to their customers right now. I have not met the local shop’s customers, but I do know that the environment is a topic which is growing in priority for every generation, especially the yummy mummies who have a bob or two and appreciate good coffee, whilst discussing a good cause.

A thriving coffee shop will offer their customers refillable cups, loose coffee, dairy free, and vegan cakes and lunches. They may hold events aimed at supporting the local cause for protecting the environment. These are obvious and small things, but I know that customers vote with their feet and rely on their emotions to guide them when buying anything. They do not care about their surroundings (if it is clean) I also know that this coffee shop is not doing any of those things or anything other than serving coffee. Where is the uniqueness? Why would customers go there above Costa or another independent?
My point is that we can all have good and bad years in business. We can all slip into our comfort zones and watch profits fall. We all know it takes effort, focus, skills and action to thrive, but I believe it also depends on our mindset.

Our mindset is the conversation you have between your ears, in other words we can convince ourselves of anything, good or bad. I can imagine the conversation of the coffee shop owner, “poor me, poor me, poor me”

Generally, if our mindset is negative, we will believe that there is only a negative future ahead. We can easily spiral into a period of self-doubt, self-sabotage and lack of belief.

We can also have a positive mindset and excite in a positive forecast. This encourages confidence, clarity, focus and great action.

Tame your inner Chimp

To achieve a positive mindset, we must manage the conversation between our ears.

If you have read the book “Chimp Paradox” you will know that it is our chimp we need to tame.

Our chimp can influence our behaviour, our beliefs and our thoughts. It can be quite convincing.

I recently attended a workshop ran by Simon Hartley who said that:

“You can be the person you want to be”
“Ask yourself, what is the gap between the person I want to be and the person I am now?”
“What are the steps that I need to take to become the person I want to be?”

Simon has worked with world class athletes and helped them become the person they are now.

I loved his work as I believe he is so right.

We can definitely be the person we want to be.

We must identify who that person is and then work on bite sized chunks to get there. Just like any other goal, one step at a time.
Our beliefs, self-doubt, sabotage and imposters are all words of our chimp that need taming and re-educating to one of self-validation and a positive belief system.

Here’s the Million pound part

I believe we become the same as the people we surround ourselves with.

Look at your circle of influence and be honest, are they providing you with the positive vibes you need, or do they include some negative Nellies who present the worst scenario of every event.

You will identify family members, friends and colleagues who are all part of your network at either camp.

Which ones are more fun, inspiring and motivating?

Which suck all of your positive energy and leave you feeling numb or down?

Mastermind groups are the best solution for this. Generally the only people engaging in a group like this are positive high achievers, who want to better themselves.

I have written before of how I value both attending and running Mastermind groups.

I attended my group on Friday and the feeling I came away with is worth millions if bottled.

The value you get from spending a day with positive, business owners who truly support and care about you and your success is PRICELESS!

I literally float home with a feeling that I can achieve anything as long as these guys are with me.

The Mastermind I attend has people who I would not naturally gravitate towards. This has taught me a lot about myself.

I love spending time with creatives who inspire me to put pen to paper more frequently, despite my limiting beliefs in my ability to write.

Others push me to engage in technology and be less fearful of it. We all know what will happen to our business if we fail to embrace new technology.
I love this gentle nudge in all of the directions which I would naturally run from or avoid.

This is the value of Mastermind, not only does it focus, engage you and hold you accountable to your goals.

It makes you edge out of your comfort zone.

As we enter a new a phenomenon – “FOBI” Fear of being irrelevant. – Simon Hartley

Stand out, be bold, and become the best version of you.

If Mastermind sounds like it will give you a million pound feel get involved in a group.

If you would like to become part of my Mastermind group which launches in March 2020, get in touch or register your interest here.

https://cloud9mastermind.co.uk/

What are you searching for?

There have been many articles and blogs highlighting the benefits of being in a Mastermind group. Accountability, support and growth being amongst the top three.

What I found interesting when launching my recent Mastermind programme, was the personal reasons behind professional business owners looking for a Mastermind group.

It should not have been a surprise to me, as I hear this daily in my coaching practice. Business leaders are looking for what is often referred to as a silver bullet.

Typically, we all reach a point in our business where we hit a ceiling and cannot push beyond. It is at this point where we reach for that silver bullet – why?

On day 1 of my 12 month Mastermind programme it became obvious.

We feel like we have grown our business as far as we can, we have made mistakes and enjoyed successes, but are out of ideas of how to take our cherished products or services to the next level. Or are we?

It was humbling to witness business owners from multi-million-pound organisations sharing in their experiences of self-doubt and lack of confidence. Could this be the real reason why our business has stagnated?

The imposter phenomenon is rife amongst business owners who unconsciously fake it until they make it. (who hasn’t?) I am really pleased that it is becoming more acceptable for us to share our vulnerabilities, and accept our own feelings of self-doubt, at the end of the day we are all human and need support.

I feel incredibly lucky to belong and run Mastermind groups which allow me to share in others journeys of realisation that we are not alone and with a little support, encouragement, motivation and an objective viewpoint, we can raise the bar and achieve our goals, however big.

We must all accept that we will not find the silver bullet because it doesn’t exist, like anything in life, there is no easy fix, but we can address our confidence and fear levels and find the support we need.

A professional peer group who challenge each other by holding up the mirror and asking the questions which we wouldn’t ask ourselves, encourages us to think bigger, find the belief in ourselves to smash through the ceiling and reach limits we knew were possible but didn’t dare to believe.

Mastermind has enabled me to believe in myself and action my plans with confidence and clarity.

It is not surprising that Mastermind groups are becoming a common entry on any budget report.

It is an inexpensive investment in both your business and you!

When I asked myself “What am I searching for?” I found the answer from my Mastermind peer group.

Where will you find yours?

Creating a Culture of Accountability

As promised, I’m back with a low-down on what happened on Day 2 of my own personal journey with a Mastermind Group. As you will know from my previous blog https://www.cloud9businesscoaching.co.uk/practice-what-you-preach/ I have joined an executive Mastermind Group run by Penny Power OBE. For a year I am committed to meet once a month to share my dreams and challenges with Penny and 11 collaborative partners.

 

The focus of Day 2 was accountability.  At the end of our first meet, we had all shared our goals and set ourselves objectives to complete within the 4 weeks between sessions. So, on Day 2 it was time to report back!

 

The glue that ties commitment to the result

 

Let me tell you, there is nothing more powerful to whip you into action and do what you said you do, than having to openly update Penny Power and 11 other dedicated and impressive new colleagues. I mean who wants to be the person who pathetically laments, “oh I wasn’t able to do this, or that; because of this, or that”. Not me!!!

 

Of course, we weren’t expected to be Grade A students and have completed everything on our list, but if we had failed, we were encouraged to consider what had held us back and why. And this was a worthwhile lesson in terms of understanding and recognising our barriers and limitations. Plus, it allowed us to openly admit struggle or failure; and brainstorm as a group how to address and overcome it.

 

“Accountability breeds response-ability” Stephen Covey

 

Accountability is a funny word. On the one hand it conjures a somewhat negative connotation in terms of having responsibility and being held to blame if things go wrong. But on the other hand, holding yourself and others accountable brings incredibly positive results. Faster and more accurate response, improved teamwork and higher output are some of the benefits of greater accountability in the workplace. It really can be the driving force for excellence.

 

An essential leadership competency

 

Not every leader is willing to hold people accountable for their actions or lack of. Fear of conflict, fear of becoming unpopular, or simply not knowing how; are common causes for a lack of accountability. It is hard work that requires time, focus and consistency but encouraging a culture of accountability will ensure that everyone has the best opportunity to excel in their role.

 

Here’s my 5 tips for creating a culture of accountability:

  1. Set expectations. Be clear about what you want done, how you want it done and by when. Put it into context and explain how individual objectives feed into the overall business objectives.
  2. Ensure capability. It is vital that your people have the right experience, tools and support to achieve their objectives. If there are gaps, how will you resolve them?
  3. Agree weekly/monthly milestones with clear, measurable targets. If any of these slip, jump on it immediately.
  4. Provide feedback. If you have set clear expectations with agreed measurables, then feedback can be fact-based and easy to deliver on an on-going basis.
  5. Act on results. Reward good results and take action when expectations aren’t met.

 

When expectations are clear and individuals have the proper skills, knowledge and resources to perform, they are more likely to show a greater level of accountability.

 

Great companies have high cultures of accountability

 

But it is no good just to mandate accountability. Leaders who don’t model accountability can’t expect their employees to behave any differently. Accountability is necessary at all levels within a business and should cascade downwards.

 

If you struggle with accountability, you are not alone. It can be lonely at the top and with no-one to hold you accountable, it’s easy to let things slip. This is where the help of a good business coach can be invaluable.

 

“Sam will hold up a mirror to the one person who is ultimately responsible and accountable for my business and while sometimes uncomfortable it makes a huge difference.”

 

How you choose to work on your own accountability is down to you. I have chosen to join a Mastermind Group and it became very clear to me on Day 2 that accountability is one of the key benefits. My group colleagues will keep me on track and hold me accountable in moving my projects and goals forward. Just knowing that I have a regular, scheduled meetings will drive me to make progress.

 

Watch the space for the next instalment in my mastermind journey and if you are interested to explore how my coaching services or Mastermind Groups can help you create a culture of accountability, please don’t hesitate to get in contact!

 

 

 

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Practice what you preach.

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Every coach needs a coach. I have 9 years of experience coaching other people, but I regularly see a coach. We’ve all heard the story about the mechanic who drives around in a rust bucket, or the painter and decorator whose house is in need of much tlc. I am not a fan of walking contradictions. Contradictions do not make progress. Which is why I recently joined a Mastermind Group.

The time has come for me to further shape and improve my business. After much research and deliberation, I decided to join a group run by Penny Power OBE. For a year I am committed to meet once a month to share my dreams and challenges with Penny and 11 collaborative partners; people I’ve only just met.

It’s a big step and a huge commitment both timewise and financial. But it’s time – I am ready to invest in the future of Cloud9 and progress to the next level – and once I had met and connected with Penny; I knew this was not only the right move, but the right group.

Winners make a habit of manufacturing their own positive expectations in advance of the event” Brian Tracy

In the next series of blog posts, I will be sharing my experience of what it’s like to attend a Mastermind Group and documenting my journey. This is an exciting time for me and naturally I have big expectations – of course I know first-hand the impact a Mastermind Group can have!!!

I expect to be inspired to rethink my strategies by opening-up to new ideas and perspectives; I expect to reconsider my own capabilities; unlearn behaviours that may be preventing my business from moving forward; learn new innovations that will help me achieve the results I desire.

This may sound like a tall order and you may think that I am setting my expectations to high, but I am acutely aware of the power of Mastermind. https://www.cloud9businesscoaching.co.uk/power-mastermind-mighty/

I know I can have the business life I want and I know that I am more likely to achieve it with the help and support of a Mastermind Group.

So here’s what happened on day 1 of my own mastermind journey… #BiPMM1

My story is… I don’t have a story!

On the train to London my biggest preoccupation was about the other 11 members of the group and my own personal worth. Who will they be? What is their business background? Will they be more ‘high flying’ than me? Will I connect with them? Will I be able to add value to the group? What if I regret signing up to this? And why do I keep getting emotional? (more about that later!)

 

The main objective of day 1 was getting to know the other group members. Openness and honesty are absolutely key to developing meaningful relationships and securing trust within the group, so we were invited to stand and tell ‘our story’. As I listened to the others relay tales of adversity and life-changing experiences, I was struck with the sudden realisation ‘I don’t have a story!!!’ My life to this point has been happy, full of love and relative success with, thankfully, no tragedy.

Surrounded by brave people who had achieved so much (and equally lost so much), I felt humbled, in-awe and inspired. Despite my feelings of inadequacy, I knew I would learn a great deal from these individuals. And going back to my story, or lack thereof, I was reassured that everyone has a story – some less turbulent than others. My story is the story of who I am and how I am on the way to becoming me. Cue the emotions.

The opportunity to be so transparent, to take a good look at yourself and share your hopes, dreams, failures and frustrations stirs up emotion. It’s not every day that we get to be so real and honest; with ourselves and others. This is the power of Mastermind. On day 1 we established a bond. We were 12 strangers from different walks of life, with a common purpose, committed to supporting one another and our business goals.

I felt energised, empowered, safe and supported and immensely excited about the next 11 months and what I will achieve.

I already know that this is going to be a transformative journey that is as much about cultivating and harnessing my own power as it is about growing my business.

Watch the space for the next instalment in my mastermind journey and if you are interested to hear about the Mastermind Groups I run, please don’t hesitate to get in contact!

You can register your interest via the link below.

https://www.cloud9businesscoaching.co.uk/mastermind-landing-page/

 

The power of Mastermind is mighty

5 reasons why you need to join a Mastermind Group

Mastermind Groups are becoming more and more popular as business leaders recognise the value of peer-to-peer mentoring, but they are not new.

The concept was first presented in the early 1900s by Napolean Hill is his books ‘The Law of Success’ and ‘Think and Grow Rich’. Hill described the Mastermind principle as, “coordination of knowledge and effort between two or more people who work towards a definite purpose in a spirit of harmony… No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind”, also known as, the Mastermind.

It was Hill’s many conversations with Andrew Carnegie that inspired the concept of Mastermind. Carnegie attributed much of his phenomenal success to a peer group of trusted advisors.

The power of Mastermind is mighty

Have you ever been part of a Mastermind Group?

If no, then you will not have experienced the mighty benefit of being connected with other motivated people, who bring insight from different backgrounds and experience, who inspire you to achieve success and are dedicated to holding you accountable. It really is quite powerful.

If you need further convincing, here’s 5 key reasons why you need to join a mastermind group:

Learning

As Hill recognised, a Mastermind Group is all about synergy. As a participant, you will learn from the collective intelligence of the group. Their perspective, knowledge and experience will help you overcome challenges and advance your own projects and goals more quickly.

 

Growth Ultimately participants of a Mastermind Group raise the bar by challenging each other. As facilitator, I help the group dive deeply into business discussions. The participants act as devil’s advocates and empower you to make wise decisions. You will not only think bigger, but your confidence will grow.

Support A Mastermind Group provides a trusted, non-judgemental environment where you can seek objective advice and feedback. Participants are motivated not only by accelerating their own growth, but by the reward of helping others solve problems and overcome challenges.

 

Accountability Your fellow participants will keep you on track and hold you accountable in moving your projects and goals forward. Just knowing that you have a regular, scheduled meeting will drive you to make progress.

 

Networking

The very essence of a Mastermind Group is a collective of like-minded professionals. It is likely that you will develop strong and lasting relationships with the participants in your group. This will result in extending your network by sharing connections, resources and even doing business together.

 

You already know that two heads are better than one when it comes to solving a problem or creating a result, so imagine if you met on a monthly basis with a permanent group of like-minded professionals who act as your board of objective and trusted advisors. Imagine the impact could this have on your effectiveness and growth?

My question now is; why are you not part of a Mastermind Group?

 

“Surround yourself with people who are going to lift you higher” Oprah Winfrey

How to not to lose or alienate your Gen Y talent

We embark upon 2019 still frustratingly uncertain as to how the year will unfold and what impact it will have on our businesses. In these unstable times, the last thing you need as a leader is to lose your key players – whether they be established or rising stars.

2.8 million employees quit their jobs each month and it costs approx. £30,614k to find and train a replacement. Investment in your team is therefore crucial, and a people strategy must be an essential component of your business strategy.

Success comes from having a productive, motivated team but numerous studies show that turnover is higher than ever. As soon as next year, 40% of the workforce will be Gen Y. So what make this largest of talent pools choose one company over another and what makes them stay?

What Gen Y need

I touched on what Gen Y expect from their employer in my previous post.  The defining factor is that this generation want a job that will accommodate their values.

Here are 5 key areas, I believe you should focus on to ensure you provide the right environment for your Gen Y talent to flourish:

 

  • Growth & Development A company offering opportunity and transparent development opportunities will retain Gen Y who will look elsewhere if they feel they are not developing in their role. This does not necessarily mean the hierarchical ‘step-up’, but more fluid, stepping-stone opportunities that involve added responsibility, experience, exposure and challenge. Gen Y are more than willing to participate in activities – traditional training or otherwise – that increase their skills and cement their value to the business.

 

  • Work/Life Balance According to a recent survey by Forbes, 74% of Gen Y employees want flexible work schedules which allow them to attend to their commitments outside work. This is increasingly disrupting the traditional 9 to 5 schedule as many employees and employers alike, recognise that productivity is not necessarily tied to a specific 7hr window. Requests for flexible working are at an all-time high, and business owners should understand, respect and accommodate work-life integration. Note: balance does not equate to less work, but working differently and flexibly.

 

  • Passion It is entirely wrong to assume that Gen Y are lazy. When provided with the proper motivation they are widely known to work above and beyond their contractual hours, including evenings and weekends. What motivates them is passion. They need to understand the WHY. Therefore, making the business mission at the centre of everything and open lines of communication at every step of the way is key to keeping their passion alive. Involve your Gen Y in key business decisions, make them privy to challenges and ask their opinion – it will generate trust and engage them even further.

 

  • Nurture Gen Y are the first cohort born of so-called ‘helicopter parents’. The patience, fairness, time and understanding they received from their mothers and fathers is an expectation in the workplace too. In fact, the relationship between leader and employee often works best when the dynamic is parent-child like! Gen Y require open communication, regular feedback and praise. They are ok with being vulnerable and will readily confess to fear or weakness. A nurturing approach, which may be quite alien to Gen X bosses, will bring out the best in them and help them soar.

We’ll be relying on Gen Y talent for decades to come. Only businesses that understand how this talent pool want to be treated and actively attend to their needs and expectations will avoid the turnover trap.

Are you one of them?