27 Sep

Why you need to prioritise your goals

A few years ago I wanted to shed a few kilos, and get fit for a cycling holiday. Piece of pie I thought. I would be incredibly disciplined, focus on both goals and pull this off in no time. Unfortunately, reality hit when my dietician at the time informed me that I should be prioritising. Lose weight or get fit, which one would I like to achieve first?

This principle can be applied to business too. Think about your main business goals. Have you prioritized them or are you trying to provide equal focus and attention on all of them at the same time?

The problem with not prioritising is that there is a risk of objectives clashing with each other. This could result in time being wasted in decision making, internal conflict, employees getting frustrated or confused and you land up not achieving anything.

Say you have selected four or five main objectives for the year, and increasing sales and product innovation are two of them. Before drawing up your action plans you should confirm how your resources will be split up to achieve these objectives. You likely have funding constraints and therefore resources must be allocated strategically. So should you focus on increasing your sales first, or will you place the focus on research and development for product innovation?

If you decide that innovation is your first focus, you will acknowledge that sales growth will need to come in at second place. Why? Your resources, such as money, time and people will be directed to innovation and development. Not to say that sales growth is not important, but by clarifying which objectives take priority and therefore the bulk of the resources, it ensures that everyone is reading off the same page. This in turn allows for your team to have laser focused attention for the selected timeframe, which saves time, money and relationships.

Define your objectives, clarify their importance, develop your action plans and assign your resources.

17 Nov

Why your competitors are the best thing for your business

Recently I met a business owner who was in a pretty negative space with regards to her business. After a brief discussion to understand her situation, I discovered that the biggest issue she had was that her competitors were “getting a bigger piece of the pie”.
She was incredibly negative about this, so much so that this mindset had filtered into all areas of her business. She told me that she had stopped with her new customer acquisition marketing strategy, because “my competitors have probably already made contact with those prospects, so it’s pointless if I do”. Really?! Whilst listening to her speak I thought, “I wonder if Oprah Winfrey ever thought that way when facing adversity?
This businesswoman, had literally given up without even trying. On the way home I reflected on our conversation and came up with my take on her whole issue. Flipping it right on its head! Your competitors can be a huge influence on your business success, you just need to know how and of course why.

1) Without competitors we become complacent

Just imagine if there was no competition in the world? It would probably be fun, for about a week, but then we would literally start sliding into a state of complete boredom and complacency, which is a dangerous place to be in business and in life in general. By understanding our competitors’ strengths and weaknesses we become creative thinkers and start finding opportunities to develop new and innovative products and services for our customers. We spend time improving our current offerings so we can be the best we can be. Our competitors challenge us to keep agile and on our toes. Without our competitors we stop developing ourselves and our businesses, we stop working towards goals.

2) Without competitors we don’t get a chance to shine

Think about your business and who your immediate competitors are. How similar or different are you? You may be offering similar products or services, but I can tell you that there are many unique traits about you and your business that will shine through. Define those traits and let them shine!
Without competitors we stand a chance of becoming a boring face in the crowd. By understanding the necessity to stand out, we challenge the status quo.

3) Without competitors we don’t get to understand our customers

Without competitors we stop thinking outside the box. We stop trying to find out what our customer really want and only think about what we can comfortably offer them. We become self-absorbed and lazy, where we actually should be customer-centric. We fail to clearly define our customers needs. This complacent mindset leads to missed opportunities, no business or personal growth.
Owning and operating your own business is not easy, it will never be easy, but if you are aware of this and happy to  take the good with the bad then owning your own business can be exceptionally gratifying.
Owning a business with the understanding that there are bigger, more successful and well-known competitors out there can be daunting, but competition will always be there, whether you like it or not. Learn to embrace them. Learn to work with them, not against them. Learn from your competitors’ mistakes and wins and remember they will never ever be you!
06 Jul

Job hopping is not always the solution to your problem

These days it seems pretty normal for the average person to shift jobs every 2 to 3 years. Depending on the job and the industry it has become an expectation for this type of migration to happen and if you don’t, well then there is something wrong with you, so they say.

I am all for growth and development. People moving up the ladder to be constantly challenged, however this affinity for constantly moving roles and companies does open itself up for questioning. I’m a coach, I cannot help myself.

It seems as though jobs have become as disposable as our morning coffee take away cup. Use it for a while and then chuck it in once you are done with it as there is always another one on the next corner. This type of practise and thought process is quite concerning. Instead of asking why and digging deep to understand the core reasons for leaving a job, it has become common practise to just find a new one. Everyone is doing it, they say.

I met Mary a number of years ago. She was extremely talented in her job and was highly sort after by some of the top firms in her industry. Mary would start off really well in her position, but eventually would start looking for a new job after 18 months to 2 years. The reason for the continuous movement; Mary didn’t seem to get on very well with the rest of the people within the office.

When I spoke with Mary she would complain about her co-workers and moan about their behaviour towards her. The problem was, this was not a unique situation. There was a pattern in almost every business she worked in. The reason for Mary leaving every time, in Mary’s opinion was due to everyone else’s bad behaviour.

Notice anything?

Yes, it wasn’t everyone else’s behaviour, it was Mary.

If you have come to the decision to leave your current job and apply for another position at a different businesses, the question deserves to be answered truthfully. Why are you resigning?

Is it purely for growth and development, for a more senior role that your existing company can’t offer you? Have you had enough and want a change of pace and scenery or, was it due to the people, culture and environment?

I believe it is very important to understand your reasons for leaving, as it may not necessarily be the company that needs shifting, it may be you.

By Mary relocating every 2 years she wasn’t dealing with the real reasons. She wasn’t taking ownership for her inappropriate behaviour and in actual fact she was doing herself an injustice by not sorting out her conduct issues. Just imagine the extra value she could be offering if she just altered some of her negative habits?

The next time you decide to shift jobs, think about why? The truth is is that if the reasons for leaving are self-inflicted those reasons will never miraculously disappear the minute you walk out the door. These reasons will always come along with you and rear their nasty little heads in your new position until you actually start dealing with them.

Don’t be a Mary.

Need some coaching support? Contact Nicole @ nicole@tikumu.co.nz

17 Nov

What culture do you want during times of change?

Imagine your business had been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to launch a new product/service, which if successfully carried out, would result in huge growth for your brand and cause a major increase in revenue.

But in order to capitalise on this opportunity, your business would need to undergo a number of changes, and by that I mean your team would need to undergo some changes. They would be expected to take on additional work, they might need to re-locate to other parts of the country and there would be a possibility of merging with another business in order to successfully achieve this rollout.

How is the visualisation exercise working out for you? Are you feeling positive or apprehensive? What’s the first thing that pops into your mind? There may be many concerns, ideas, issues, but I’m guessing that one of your first thoughts is how would your team members take the news?

This is a problem that many business owners have to deal with on a regular basis – successfully implementing change into their businesses. Sometimes its large scale change, and sometimes its small scale. How are some businesses able to implement change well, yet others can’t and face huge problems?

One of the biggest influences in your business are your people. Depending on how they react to and manage the change, will determine how successful your change implementation process will be. To successfully implement change you want a high performance culture in your business.

You want:

  1. Flexible and highly adaptive individuals
  2. A team who are optimistic and see change from the very beginning as an opportunity for growth and success
  3. Confident team players who believe in the product and service and buy into the business purpose
  4. Motivated, energised and engaged individuals
  5. Team members who understand and get the “bigger picture”

Do you have a high performance culture in your business? Do you have a high performance team?

It’s no good trying to implement changes in your business if you don’t have the culture right. And its no use trying to improve the culture at the same time as you implement the change. This type of implementation is not a sprint, its an marathon. The investment into your business culture should actually start from the day of your business inception or as close to it as possible. Remember that people’s behaviour, belief systems and habits don’t just change overnight, it takes time. In some instances, it would be time that you wouldn’t have the luxury of having, especially in the middle of a change initiative.

So while you are busy planning great growth and innovation within your business, think about your team members and whether or not they can happily facilitate and drive these changes for you. Perhaps you need to work on your people and building a high performance team before implementing a change initiative.

Need some assistance? Contact Nicole at nicole@tikumu.co.nz

14 Aug

Do we ever stop learning?

Do we ever stop learning? Most people would agree that no, we don’t.

So if we believe that we should be continuously learning, should we not always be open to opportunities for growth and development? Unfortunately, so often that doesn’t seem to be the case. Why do we limit ourselves from being developed, or when we have the opportunity to learn we poo-poo the idea and make excuses to avoid it?

One of the biggest obstacles for many people’s personal growth and development is their unhealthy pre-occupation with work. The “job” becomes all-consuming, and unreasonable work obligations are allowed to take away from personal learning time.

I often hear things like “Ah, I would love to attend that talk or seminar, but I’ve got work to do” or “No, I haven’t managed to read that book, I needed to finish off a work report”. You could say that work has become the be-all and end-all, and anything outside of it is less important. Lack of work-life-balance comes to mind.

Is this trade-off due to our feeling of guilt if we pay more attention to something other than work? The feeling that we will be seen as a “slacker” by our peers, work colleagues or heaven forbid, our bosses?

If your answers to the following questions highlight that your personal development time is lacking due to work, what are you going to do to change it?

  • Do you allow your job to overshadow your opportunity to develop?
  • Do you put other people’s requests and demands before your own development opportunities?
  • Do you allocate time during your week or month for personal development and growth?
  • Do you discuss your personal development goals with your boss?
  • What would happen if you actively included personal development into your schedule?
14 Apr

Are you enjoying the journey?

Over the past year I have been very conscious of the concept of being happy. Not to be happy for happiness sake, but being conscious of what makes me happy.

The tricky thing is that happiness means something different for everyone. You need to find what makes you happy. For me it is the idea of enjoying the journey.

In our pursuit of happiness do we take the time to stop and smell the roses? Do we appreciate all the highs and lows along the way? Do we look for happy moments in our everyday routines and mundane tasks or are we so preoccupied about getting stuff done that we don’t take notice?

Happiness is not a goal that you achieve after completing an action plan within a pre-determined deadline. Happiness or lack of happiness is a by-product of your continued actions. Like Viktor E. Frankl said in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, “Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue.”  Happiness is the result of what you practise. What are you practising?

Life’s journey has inevitable highs and lows. Summoning the strength to take charge of the lows is especially rewarding. Your confidence and self-esteem will grow after successfully dealing with the difficult times, and this will provide space for happiness to re-appear.

Enjoying the journey is about appreciating the good, the bad and the ugly. Be mindful about your thoughts, actions and choices. This helps you to grow, move forward and prevent those moments from being repeated.

In my journey, I find that my happiness levels increase when I am able to put a label on reasons for things that are going right or wrong. I am able to own the success and the failure. Being accountable and in control of the next step brings me happiness.

If happiness or unhappiness is a result of our everyday actions, what are you doing to control those actions to allow for positive results? What are you doing to enjoy the journey?