14 Dec

Self-development is a key component to business success

Throwing stones at tigers, leveraging collective strength, resilience, turning disabilities into abilities,  and triumphing against dangerous pirates! These were just a few of the themes from TEDx Auckland 2017 that I was privileged enough to see this past week.

I left the talks feeling invigorated and motivated and gave myself a real talking to on the way home, about not attending more of these inspiring events.

The odd thing is that even if you really love your job as I do, we can very quickly find ourselves stuck in the mundane day-to-day hamster wheel of life and when you look up from the appointments, paperwork and “being busy”, 6 months have passed and you have given your self-development no attention. The saddest part is that you have missed out on these amazing opportunities.

Success is not just about focusing on the business goals, but a huge component of your business success or failure comes from how healthy the mindset of your team is, which includes yourself.

So how do you know if there is a healthy mindset in your organisation? It all comes down to how productive and proactive you and your team are. You can have the most highly motivated team members, but there comes a time in every organisation when people’s enthusiasm starts sliding. How can you combat this?

  1. Firstly, acknowledging that it is essential to encourage a balance between business development and personal development.
  2. Talk to your team members and understand the areas they would like to develop. This is not about job skills and competencies, but personal skills and competence. This includes you, by the way. Define the areas you would like to strengthen and explore.
  3. Set goals and deadlines and define what these “self-development” projects will look like. Will they be books, motivational talks, webinars, courses, workshops, mentorship programmes?
  4. Write these goals done for yourself and your team members and keep yourself accountable.
  5. Finally, don’t forget to action it!

We are absolutely spoilt for choice these days. Every where we look there are events taking place, which could add such great value to us personally and to our team. So, lift your head up from your “work”, think about your personal development goals and spend some time researching what’s best for you. You won’t be disappointed.

15 Sep

Two common questions I get asked as a coach

When people ask me what I do for a living, I often get one of three reactions from them after I tell them I am a professional coach. They either glaze over and have no idea what coaching is; or they comment vaguely that they know what the profession is, but actually they don’t know (which is perfectly okay); or they have a good idea and most likely have previously experienced some form of coaching in their lives or business.
Depending on their response the conversation will either move onto their coaching experience or something completely different as people will either buy into the concept of coaching or not, that’s just the way it is, and I am happy with that. I would probably be totally blank too if someone told me they were a Dendrochronologist.
However, what I do find fascinating is the regular barrage of questions that get asked by people who are toying with the idea of  utilising the services of a coach. Here are the two questions I’m asked most often.
My favourite question is “How long will my coaching process take?” For me, asking this question is quite similar to asking, “how long is a piece of string?” It just depends on the person, their goal and very importantly how committed the person or business is to the coaching process. Some people are not ready to be coached as they do not have enough time or they are not mentally prepared and therefore their coaching may be incredibly drawn out and painful, for both parties.
There is no quick fix, no instant gratification or no magic bullet. There is however huge reward during and at the end of the coaching process when the goal(s) have been achieved. The clarity, focus and motivation that comes with working with a coach effectively and knowing that the hard work and dedication to the process has paid off, is undoubtedly a huge win for everyone.
Another question I’m often asked is “How does the coaching process work?” Well when you work with me I am quite structured in my process and I believe any good coach would be as well. Our main focus is for you to reach your goal. Therefore, we simply won’t be sitting around drinking tea and having a chat. Every session has a format and there will always be a desired outcome for every session, which is usually work that needs to be completed in between the coaching sessions.  Yes, there is homework!
I can tell you right now that the coaching process doesn’t work if the coaching process isn’t taken seriously. There is an expectation that both parties are 100% committed to the relationship. So before entering into a coaching relationship consider these three things.
1) Is the coach a good match for me? Will I be able to work with this person?
2) What will I need to give up in my life or business in order to fit the coaching in?
3) Am I mentally prepared for my coaching journey? Am I able to step outside of my comfort zone in order to grow and develop?
There are many other questions, so if you wish to find out some answers please feel free to contact me. nicole@tikumu.co.nz or check out my website www.tikumu.co.nz for more information.
By the way, did you find out what a Dendrochronologist was?
27 Apr

Do you have the right people in the right seats?

A question which has stuck in my head forever, thanks to an old boss of mine, “Do you have the right people, in the right seats on the bus?” has over the past couple of weeks come up in conversation with quite a few of my clients.
This is a powerful question because it makes you step back and view your business from a completely different angle. It’s not about the products or services or the systems you use. It’s purely about the people that you have, if they are the right fit for your business and if they are performing their duties as per expectations. A rather sobering question if you ask me.
The teams which function in our businesses are extremely important. You already know that as a business owner or operator, ultimately your team are the ones that make things happen. They are the ones who make the business come alive. They are the ones who represent the brand to the outside world.
With this in mind there are four key areas I would like to raise and possibly get you thinking about  when you start evaluating the “seating arrangements” on your own bus.
1) Skills and capabilities – every person in your team has a set of unique skills and capabilities, hence the reason for why you hired them in the first place. If you took a snap shot of your business as it currently stands, is every person within your organisation playing towards their strengths and focusing their attention on your business objectives or has their focus shifted?
Teams function well when they are able to get to know their fellow team mates and over time with some commitment from all parties, your goal is that trust starts to blossom. One ingredient which is key to the trust recipe is having a consistent core group of team members with very little unscheduled shifting of positions and people as possible.  As a business owner how do you maintain that core team? In today’s business world we are all aware of how easy it is to “jump ship”. People are often looking for greener pastures. What talent management process to you have in place or people development programme?
2) Emotional intelligence – When you evaluate your team members, instead of only measuring them on their ability to complete their tasks, it pays to measure their emotional intelligence levels as well. They may be highly skilled individuals, but if they have very little self and social awareness, or minimal ability to  self-manage, then they could be more of a hindrance in your business than an advantage. The beauty however about emotional intelligence is that it can be learned.
3) Values – It is said that people are guided by their own personal values, goals and needs first before they actively drive any business goals. With this in mind, do your team members share your business values? Are you aware of team members individual personal values?  Would it not be best to share in a common set of values and beliefs than to struggle with constant internal conflict with your team members?
4) Motivation and passion – Sticking with the bus analogy, you could call motivation the  the fuel of the business. Having a busload of highly skilled, emotional intelligent individuals is any business owners dream. However if these individuals don’t put fuel in the tank, the bus is going nowhere. Same for your business, if your team members aren’t motivated to drive the business goals forward, your business is going no where.
Internal motivation is key and when recruiting the right people should be a non-negotiable, but how are you as the business owner or operator motivating your team members?
With these four areas as a benchmark, how does your current seating arrangement look?
13 Apr

Let’s get back to business basics

To stand out and be seen in today’s business world, sometimes we can feel pressured to spend a lot of time, money and energy on marketing, brand awareness and trying to shout louder than all our competitors. We focus a lot of time on trying to paint a picture of being bigger or better than everyone else.  Don’t get me wrong, marketing and brand awareness initiatives are very beneficial and obviously a very important component of any business. However, it is not the only component of a business. Unfortunately, too many businesses fall into this trap and lose sight of this. They lose sight of the basics. When last did you look at the foundations of your business?
So what are the basics or the foundations of a business? Besides confirming what your business stands for, it’s purpose, mission and values, a huge component of your business’s foundations would be it’s people. This is not just the team in your business, but it includes you the business owner/operator as well.
 When last did you buy into a fabulous offer to be terribly disappointed at the end result? This all comes down to the team and business owner of that specific business. They are the ones who need to ensure that the business is delivering on the promises, which have been made in the latest marketing campaign. Sadly, there are too many occasions where there is a gap between the promises businesses make and the outcomes that the customers receive.
So here are a few questions you can ask yourself before you spend hundreds of man-hours promoting your business.
1) Are you and your team trained correctly? This might be a simple question, but actually if you had to answer honestly, would you be ticking off all the boxes and deeming all players 100% competent?
If the answer is no then what would be required to get your team or yourself up to speed? Have you built that timeline into your marketing strategy?
2) Are you and your team aware of the importance of customer service? Does excellent customer service feature as one of your core business values? If everyone is aware of good customer service, are you seeing evidence of this taking place in your business?
It’s all good to have the knowledge, but is there evidence of good service practises, and are they part of the business culture?
3) Lastly and probably the most important question of all. Are you and your team motivated enough to continuously deliver on the business promise? People can be 100% competent to carry out the job, but do they have the will and motivation?
Be the business who sets itself up for success. Be the business who under-promises and over-delivers. If you really want to stand out and be seen above the crowd, invest the time and energy into building the basics. Build a strong team that can deliver. That is how you get noticed, that is what makes you different.
18 Jun


They say that human beings are creatures of habit.  Whether we are content or dissatisfied with our current situation, we generally stick with the status quo. It takes a huge amount of effort, dedication and energy to move through a change process. Hence the reason for joining support groups or working with coaches.

What I find quite interesting is that we like to talk about change. We like to dream about what could be. We actually get extremely motivated and excited about what the change could bring to our lives. All this talk however is done from the comfort of our “comfort zone arm chair” and sadly the majority of the time we revert back to what we know. We go to where we are safe. Even if it is literally causing us extreme pain and suffering. The saying “Better the devil you know” comes to mind.

Logically, we all know deep down inside that the best way to deal with change is to embrace it. Work with it, instead of against it. However getting to that point of welcoming change into your life is easier said than done, and for most of us it takes time to open ourselves up to the reality of change.

So when do we arrive at “that point” when we are ready to change? Well, one critical piece of the puzzle, that I believe  is so often missed out on is the grieving process. Whatever the change, whether we are moving away from good or bad,  we need to give ourselves time to grieve. With change comes loss. How do we deal with that loss properly? Do we open ourselves up and acknowledge why we are giving something up ? Do we find peace in the fact that we will change?

So the final question here is, are we really anxious about the changes ahead or are we avoiding the “stuff” we have to deal with before moving on? The feelings, emotions and life which we have so conveniently been swept under the carpet and forgotten about.

Whether you welcome or shun it, change is one of the very few constants in our lives. How we manage it, defines us. How do you want to be defined?

21 Apr

What would your replacement do?

Many of us have gone through a phase of being in a slump or disengaged at work. Your routine gets, well, too routine.

In the beginning things are fresh and exciting! Every day is filled with promise and grand opportunities! But now every day feels like Ground Hog Day. Daily activities blend into one another. Conversations sound the same. Small tasks become overwhelming and too hard to complete.  You wake up one day and it just feels like you have lost your mojo!

How did this happen? What went wrong?

Unfortunately this happens easily. To avoid it we need to recognise the “moving-into-a-slump-phase” signs.  A little trick that can help to pre-empt this situation, is to ask this question from Andy Stanley, leadership author: “What would your replacement do?

It can be hard to imagine yourself as dispensable,  however a simple visualisation technique like this can allow you to see your situation through fresh eyes. Things will seem less emotional, draining or overwhelming. By taking a step backwards and looking at your position from a different perspective, you give space for fresh ideas to be born. The weight lifts off your shoulders. Things seem clearer. Your motivation levels start to lift and everything and anything seems possible.

Even more effective is if you apply this technique on a regular basis. This can help you to avoid hitting the slump phase completely. Looking at life from a different perspective will keep you objective, it keeps you curious and open for new ideas.