Wednesday, 26 November 2014

We always do it like that...

A consultant was asked into a manufacturing company to help and advise them on the efficiency of their procedures and to look at ways of improving them.  As he was reviewing all the paperwork he came across a daily report which was used as a record of absentee rates, machine failure, down time, etc.  The form that was used was manually filled iin on a copy of a copy of a copy which was a long way from the original!

The photocopied forms were particularly fuzzy at the top right corner, where a small box had a heading that was not clear at all.  The consultant was interested to note that the figure '0' had been written in every daily report for the past year.  On questioning the members of staff who completed the report they told him that they always put a zero in that box, and when he asked them why they looked at each other blankly.  "Hmm.., not sure really." they said "We always do it like that."

Intrigued, the consultant visited the archives to see if he could find a clearer version of the form, to be able to see what was originally being reported on and whether it actually held any significance now!  He went back through the decades of records and found that the zero return had continued uninterrupted for as far back as the records extended - at least thirty years!  None of the forms were any clearer than those currently being used.

A little frustrated, he packed the boxes back up and turned to leave when another folder caught his eye.  It was titled 'master forms'.  Sure enough inside it he found the original daily report master copy in pristine condition.  In the top right corner was the mysterious box, with the heading clearly shown... 'Number of Air Raids today'

If you are finding yourself saying 'we always do it like that' more often than not then it is time to step back and look at what you are doing and to see if it is still what is needed.  If not then you need to take ACTION to change old processes! 

You will need to change your 'thinking' processes as well as the 'practical' processes.  If you are looking to grow and evolve your business make sure you look at the whole and that includes you.  If you want understand how this will work for you then get in touch.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Gardener's Badge...

I was reminded today of a story that I hadn't thought about for a long time.  It's short and sweet  (although I don't know the original author)

The Gardener's Badge

A landscape gardener ran a business that had been in the family for two or three generations.  The staff were happy and customers loved to visit the store, or to have the staff work on their gardens or make deliveries - anything from bedding plants to ride-on mowers.

For as long as anyone could remember, the current owner and previous generations of owners were extremely positive happy people.

Most folk assumed it was because they ran a successful business.

In fact it was the other way around...

A tradition in the business was that the owner always wore a big lapel badge saying 'Business is Great!'

The business was indeed generally great, although it went through tough times like any other.  What never changed however was the owners attitude and the badge saying 'Business is Great!'.

Everyone who saw the badge for the first time invariably asked "What's so great about business?"  Sometimes people would also comment that their own business was miserable or even that they personally were miserable or stressed.

Anyhow, the 'Business is Great!' badge always tended to start a conversation, which typically involved the owner talking about lots of positive aspects of business and work, for example

  • the pleasure of meeting and talking with different people every day
  • the reward that comes from helping staff take on new challenges and experiences
  • the fun and laughter in a relaxed and healthy work environment
  • the fascination in the work itself, and in the other people's work and business
  • the great feeling when you finish a job and o it to the best of your capabilities
  • the new things you learn every day - even without looking to do so
  • and the thought that everyone in business is blessed - because there are many millions of people who would swap their own situation to have the same opportunities of doing a productive meaningful job, in a civilized well-fed country, where we have no real worries.
And so the list went on.  And no matter how miserable a person was, they'd usually end up feeling a lot happier after just a couple of minutes listening to all this infectious enthusiasm and positivity.

It is impossible to quantify or measure attitude like this, but to one extent or another it's probably a self-fulfilling prophecy, on which point, if asked about the badge in a quiet moment the business owner would confide.

"The badge came first.  The great business followed."

So my question to you is... If you had a badge what would it say right now?  Is this what you want it to say?  If not, change it - it's your badge and you decide what you want on it.

Some of you will be looking at your business and thinking about how you can expand it in the future, take on more people, perhaps even think about how you can franchise it.  Others will be looking to keep their niche, staying small and successful - whichever one is right for you it will need planning, creative thinking and energy.

Focus your business on what you do best, let the others worry about the rest!

Just like the Gardener - what you think will drive how you do things and sometimes we need help with that.  Even when things are not looking so good and, let's be honest, in those moments it can be tough to stay flexible and creative.

Be your badge!

"Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success.  If you love what you are doing you will be successful" Albert Schweitzer

If you want to know more about understanding what your badge is currently saying and what you want it to say then contact me.

Annie Page -, 01525 633874

The world of work is changing...

The world of work is changing rapidly and how we adapt to that as employers and employees will be the difference between a successful business and one that sinks. I think this is a great graphic from Jacob Morgan, taken from his new book and article on Forbes ( Jacob Morgan Forbes article) If you want your business to build sustainable success and growth then Thrive through Transition is for you - Annie Page - Enjoy the Impossible

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Change Orientated Leadership for today and tomorrow

"... outdated are the leadership development programmes which are based on success models for a world that was, not a world that is or is coming"   Roselinde Torres

If you want Coaching and Training for the world of tomorrow then you need  Thrive through Transition