Let me ask those of you who are Chairpersons, Directors and CEO's of Indigenous organisations: "Do you really know what your vision statement means?" Do you know what your organisation will look like when you have got there? How will your people behave in the future - do they behave as the vision statement imagines they might? I have been helping Indigenous organisations prepare strategic and business plans for decades. All too often, I see organisations with a Vision Statement that is printed in plans, brochures, documents and written on the "About Us" page of their websites. And yet, when I ask those questions, although people might say "sure, we do," they can rarely translate their vision into concrete steps and goals to help them actually work towards their vision. All too often the published Vision Statement is a nice set of words that don't mean anything in their work. I have to ask, why don't people make more of their Vision Statement? Why isn't their Vision Statement the ultimate goal of all planning and operational management? How do you make it so? (more…)...Read more
I was talking to a client recently about preparing a long term plan for his business. He replied that while it was interesting he really didn't need all the stuff I do for others, like business planning, marketing, and systems. He said that he thought he was a good business man, in his words "not brilliant but I know my stuff", because he had learned how to run his business through experience. Now let me set the scene. Let's call him Danny. Danny is not an older business person dyed in the wool in the old ways. He's in his 40's and while he struggles a little bit with tech, he uses the internet a lot to research and find new suppliers and markets. He's not what I'd call conservative and he has run his business successfully for over 10 years. What do I mean by "successfully"? Well, it's a small business that supplies raw material to manufacturers. It's not a big market so Danny keeps his small customer list happy and has only lost customers when the customers have gone out of business or after being beaten on price, never through dissatisfaction. As a small business with a small customer list Danny doesn't care about...Read more
Do you want to explain difficult facts to clients? Do you want to get a sales message across? The first few seconds of any interaction is critical, whether you know the other person or not. This is particularly important in any business interaction today where people's time seem so limited, people seem so aware of "that sales pitch" coming and are ready to tune off. Today's SMS and social media world seem to do nothing but ready for us to listen to tweets. If you want to put your business message across, whether it is advice, technical information or a sales pitch you need to tune yourself and your communication to that frequency which is most clear. I have found that the best way to do this is to use four simple steps in any business communication. First, meet people where they are, in order to take people to where you want them to go. If you want someone to understand your message, you need to understand what they care about. They may care about cost, or they may care about ease of use, or indeed they may care about something human like not being embarrassed. Understand their hot buttons, and acknowledge it before you go...Read more
In any size business, but particularly in the smaller business, one of the traits the business owner or CEO or unit manager needs to keep in mind is the ability to focus on the task while keeping the big picture in mind.
What do I mean by keeping focus while having the big picture in mind?
Let me give you an analogy.
I was driving the back streets of my suburb last Sunday when I came upon a road signage crew training staff. This is a crew that puts up witches' hats and "slow down" signs when roadworks are in progress. As I approached the intersection, I saw the care and attention they had paid to the task.
About 200 meters before the intersection they had put up signs slowing traffic and one sign even explaining "training" in progress. As you approached, they had beacons, people with "lollipop" signs saying "stop" on one side and "slow" on the other. All their crew were wearing high-visibility vests, supervisors were carefully spaced out and radios were being used. Clearly they knew what they were doing and all safety procedures were being put into use.
Then I got to the intersection and whereas their training vehicles had been...Read more