14 Jan

Your employees are not your mates

“I get quite anxious when a certain employee arrives at work in the morning, as I never know what to expect. A happy, motivated team member or a grumpy individual who the customers will complain about? ”

I have heard variations of this comment from a number of business owners over the years. What is wrong with this statement? Absolutely everything.

Why, as a business owner are you walking on egg shells around your staff? Why are you giving your staff the power to define how your business day will operate?

The main reason we hire employees to work in our businesses is so that they can add value. The minute they stop doing this, they are damaging the business.

So how do business owners get stuck in this situation of feeling like they have to walk on egg shells around their staff?

Here are three key points to consider:

  1. Your employees are your employees, not your mates – You may get on extremely well with your staff members. You may share the same interests outside of the working environment, but do not lose sight of the primary reason for them being in your business. You are paying them to perform certain functions to service your customers. Crossing the line into mate territory only creates confusion and frustration for everyone. As the business owner, you are the one who clarifies and maintains the boundaries. Take ownership of that role and always remember your position within the business.
  2. Know your Human Resources procedures – One of the best gifts you can give yourself as a business owner is to know your HR processes. Understanding how to onboard an employee, train them, review them, reward and recognition them, discipline them and terminate a contract, if required. These are vital competencies for the success of your business and for your own sanity. By following the process correctly, the “lifecycle” of an employee, from the beginning, all parties know where they stand as there are clear expectations. This practise actually makes your staff members feel safe and part of an organised and well run operation. Set your staff up for success not failure. Again, take the ownership and responsibility to equip yourself with the right knowledge.
  3. Be consistent“Consistency is a key element, without which a leader is incapable of getting respect, success or even developing confidence in others.” Daniel Transon. Sending mixed signals to your staff members and having “favourites” can be confusing and is a slippery slope to losing good staff and ultimately damaging your business culture. Being consistent in how you manage and lead each team member will only strengthen your professional relationships with them, which in turn will positively affect the business. Here again, it is your responsibility as the owner to ensure that you are exhibiting the right consistent behaviour.

On-boarding employees is a huge responsibility. To set yourself, your business and your employees up for success, ensure that you are equipped with the essential skills and knowledge and be consistent in your approach and finally, always remember your position within the business.

17 Oct

Be accountable

Moliere said that, It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable. This really resonated with me as I’ve been reflecting for the past couple of days on accountability, and how it can positively or negatively influence your business.

What does that it actually mean to be accountable and what does being accountable look like in today’s business world?

People’s definitions of what accountability is will vary, depending on who they are and where their focuses lie. I have a fairly “old-fashioned” view of personal accountability. When I look at doing business with someone I look at how accountable they are to themselves, their potential and existing customers, and their own businesses. It’s not necessarily the big things that I always look at, but its the small things that matter sometimes.

Accountability rule #1:  Commit to what you say you will do –  So many people are so busy being busy, that one of the first things to fall off the accountability wagon is the ability to follow through on tasks. Remember that your business, which includes you, is constantly on stage and in the public arena for all to see. Your actions or lack of actions show your customers and potential customers how you operate. In order to send the right message such as “Im dependable and not a flake” and to build the right reputation, focus on being accountable for the small things in your business. Answer your emails, follow up on enquiries, return phone calls and arrive at meetings on time. Honestly, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do that! This doesn’t just show that you are accountable and dependable but it also shows respect and how serious you are about your business.

Accountability rule #2: Accept the consequences for your actions –  When you make an excuse for not completing a task you need to accept the consequences, big or small. Making excuses doesn’t miraculously remove the consequence, your accountability, or the inconvenience for the other party. Therefore if you cannot deliver on a project, don’t just arrive with an excuse and think you are off the hook. Be accountable and be the first person to offer a solution.

In the business world, your customer doesn’t really care about your issues. They don’t want to hear your excuses. They just want their product or service delivered to them at the right time at the right price and in the right condition.

Accountability rule #3: Never pass blame  – This can be a tricky one, especially when someone else has really stuffed up. But passing blame and shining the spot light on someone else’s imperfections makes you look like an amateur. This is where you should bite your tongue and move on. Rise above the situation and focus on solutions instead of excuses, sob stories and drama. Perhaps there is a need to build some safety nets in your business?

Accountability rule #4: Be honest – So the paw-paw has hit the fan, or you are unable to deliver on a project. Drop the ego and be honest about what’s going on. Getting into the habit of making excuses, dodging irate customer calls and passing blame doesn’t serve you and definitely doesn’t boost your reputation with your customers.

Most people in business have the best of intentions when starting out, so don’t let a lack of accountability, responsibility or ownership ruin your chances of building a strong and successful business. Be accountable.

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

08 Jun

Decisions, decisions, decisions

We live in a constantly changing world. Everyday without fail we are faced with having to make decisions. Apparently, as adults we make up to 35,000 decisions everyday, which range from what to eat for breakfast, to more life altering decisions such as what you want to be for the rest of your life. According to researchers at Cornell University (Wansink and Sobal, 2007) 226 of those choices are focused on food alone. No pressure.

With the need to make thousands of decisions being a constant in our lives  one would think it would be an easy process. We get 35,000 chances to practise everyday, we should be naturals! Gather the necessary facts in order to make an informed decision, weigh up the pros and cons of the various options and make the decision. Easy? Not quite.

So to complicate our lives and to add a dose of self-sabotage into the mix we can get into the habit of not making a decision.  This could be leaving “things” up in the air or  sticking your head in the sand and praying that “things” will just blow over. News flash, “things” don’t blow over.

The funny thing is, whether we like it or not, change will always happen. Whether we make a decision or choose to not make a decision, there will always be an outcome. There will always be consequences. Don’t be fooled into thinking that by not deciding everything will remain the same. By not making a decision, all that has happened is that you have given your power away and the change is controlling you, as opposed to you controlling the decision, choice and consequences of your action or inaction.

Yes, certain decisions can be extremely difficult and avoidance seems so much easier. However ask yourself these two question the next time you are thinking about ignoring to make a decision.

  1. “What would happen in your life or business if you didn’t take control and make a decision?”
  2. “Can you live with the consequences of not making that crucial decision?”

Know this, if you don’t take control and make decisions, some one else will and you may not be their first priority or concern. Take charge, take ownership, be proactive and make the decisions.

Need clarity and a professional coaches assistance? Contact Nicole @ nicole@tikumu.co.nz





28 Apr

What do you bring to the world?

What is your centre? What do you bring to the world?  If you ask yourself these questions what is your first reaction? Do you feel content? Are you happy with your answer or do you feel that you need some work?

Whilst pondering these questions I read an article written by one of my favourite authors and public speakers,  Patrick Lencioni. “Make your values mean something” was published in the Harvard Business Review. His article was directed at business, discussing the many mistakes companies make when they create company values. He pointed out some key issues that businesses should be aware of if they want to be successful with a company values initiative.

I wondered if his advice for creating corporate values could also be applied to personal values? Two of his points felt particularly applicable to personal values.

1. Understand the different types of values

I’ve always thought of the concept of values as being pretty simple. You either have them or you don’t. And depending on where you are in your life, certain values will be more important than others. According to Patrick, values are not as one-dimensional as I thought. He differentiates between core, aspirational, permission-to-play and accidental values. That lead me to some questions…

Starting with the most sacrosanct values of all – core values. “Do you have values that are so deeply ingrained in your core that they would never be compromised  no matter what happens in your life?”

“Do you have aspirational values?” If there is a change that you are making in your life and you aspire to behave in a certain way, does your value system portray that desire and need?

Permission-to-play values simply reflect the minimal behaviour and social standards required by any person. These values would be something deeper than the core. Values that are the foundation of our very being. So how do these values differ from one’s core values or even one’s aspirational values? Values such as honesty, kindness and integrity come to mind. Values that should be shared by every human being. Core values are then values that define you as a unique individual. Separate you from the crowd.

Accidental values I feel are very relevant to the question of “What do you bring to the world?”. These are spontaneously cultivated over time. They reflect the true personality and behaviour of you. Accidental values can be positive and negative. These are the values that your family, friends, peers and society sees. These are the values that you bring to the world. Are you satisfied with what you see?

Are your core values your accidental values? Or is what you perceive to be the “real you” just a pretty dream of make-believe, and the values that you think you project are completely opposite to what you actually portray to the outside world?

It takes guts to look at yourself in the mirror and point out your own flaws. This bring me to the second point, which is a way to make your values real.

2. Weave core values into everything

If you are thinking about changing or improving what you bring to this world, start with re-evaluating your values and then commit to living by them.

By weaving your values into your everyday tasks, decisions and thinking, they become part of who you are.  Through practice we create new habits. What we believe and treasure most is then reflected in what we bring to the world.

14 Feb

Golden Nuggets worth sharing #6 – Inner Nature – The Tao of Pooh

Recently I’ve been re-reading the wonderfully inspiring book, The Tao of Pooh, written by Benjamin Hoff. I first read it when I was 16 years old and over the years I have referred back to it for inspiration, focus or to reconnect with the simplicity of life. Every time I re-read it I discover a new lesson or have another “aha” moment.

Whilst reading the chapter titled “Cottlestone pie” which investigates and explains the meaning of one’s Inner Nature. It struck me that this can so easily be aligned to life coaching. Exploring alternative options and paths within our lives as well as understanding our true selves.

Coaching provides us with the space and time to explore these options which we wouldn’t necessarily consider.

The following are a few excerpts from The Tao of Pooh, which I would like to share with you.

Cottlestone, Cottlestone, Cottlestone Pie,
A fly can’t bird, but a bird can fly.
Ask me a riddle and I reply:
Cottlestone, Cottlestone, Cottlestone Pie…

“Let’s start with the first part: “A fly can’t bird, but a bird can fly” Very simple. It’s obvious, isn’t it? And yet, you’d be surprised how many people violate this simple principle every day of their lives and try to fit square pegs into round holes, ignoring the clear reality that Things Are as they Are. …”

“… In other words, everything has its own place and function. That applies to people, although many don’t seem to realise it, stuck as they are in the wrong job, the wrong marriage or the wrong house. When you know and respect your own Inner Nature, you know where you belong. You also know where you don’t belong. One man’s food is another man’s poison, and what is glamorous and exciting to some can be a dangerous trap to others.”

I am sure there are many unique messages in the above paragraphs, and depending on what you are focusing on in your life, certain themes will be more prominent than others. However,  from a coaching perspective it confirms very clearly that if we want to be true to ourselves we need to choose what’s best for us and decide on our own personal goals. What truly drives us? Taking ownership of other people’s goals eventually causes frustration and we tend to lose interest and become despondent. We end up wondering why we haven’t moved forward in our lives.

We need to honestly ask ourselves, are the goals we are working towards our own or someone else’s?  What do I truly want in my life? What makes me happy? What motivates and inspires me? How do I know I am adding value to myself? To reiterate “When you know and respect your own Inner Nature, you know where you belong. You also know where you don’t belong.” This knowledge is extremely empowering and opens your eyes to so many wonderful possibilities. This is when life gets exciting!

Take ownership of your own lives. Choose what’s right for you!