The MHC Blog

Powerful Business Insights for Succesful Leaders
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Success Part 1: Do You Know What Being Successful Means to You?

We want to be successful. We want to live meaningful and fulfilling lives and have the material and financial means to do so. It’s part of our human nature to want to be successful.

But what exactly does this mean?

How do you know if you’re successful, on your way to success, or failing?

How do you know when you’ve become successful and can start to relax and enjoy what you’ve worked so hard to accomplish?

To answer all these questions, you have to define what being successful means to you. There is no right or wrong answer. It is different for every one of us.

For some, it means getting a coveted position at work. Someone else may define success as being able to build their dream house. Another person may define success a being able to travel the world. Another person will measure it in dollars in the savings account or total net worth.

Success will also mean something different in different areas of your life. Think of success in terms of work, relationships, and health for example.

To be successful at work and to be successful in your marriage, for example, can be two entirely different things. In some cases, they may even contradict each other.

To do well at work and be considered for a promotion, you may have to be willing to put in long hours and bring home files to work on at night or in the evening.

The same holds true when you’re building your own business. These extended working hours can cause tension in a relationship if your significant other starts to feel neglected or they have to take on too many responsibilities at home.

In short, there’s a lot to consider and think about when it comes to success. At the same time, it’s essential that you do this thinking and define what it means to you to be successful, in all areas of your life.

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Distraction frustrations!

How the mind can wander.  Maintaining concentration whilst trying to work is so difficult in this world of social multimedia and open plan offices.  Everything seems to light up and make different chimes to alert us to updates, its no wonder that the Telegraph published in 2015 a report that showed Employees waste 759 hours each year due to workplace distractions – in the 3 years since the report was published, this figure will only have increased.

The worst mistake I ever made was putting “Facebook messenger” on my phone - today it’s been lighting up every 15 seconds whilst a messenger group I am in (for all the right reasons) records a gossipy conversation that should really have taken place over a coffee with just the 2 people concerned.

Its my own fault, here I am, working from home trying very hard to concentrate on complicated spreadsheet, I should have the phone turned over, or put in a different room, but as its virtually an extension of my left hand that’s not possible and plus, if I am honest, I am looking for a distraction to blame to relieve the brain ache. 

Result, its taking me a lot longer to complete the piece of work plus on rechecking I keep finding silly continuity errors.

So just how do you avoid the distractions that surround us?

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From Founder to CEO

You took the decision to quit your full time corporate job to become your own boss.  To make this life changing plan, you probably had an entrepreneurial sprit that was restrained in your salaried job - you took the risk and it worked out!

Today you are now a business owner, taking the new company from an employee of one (you) working out of your spare room or a corner reclaimed in your bedroom and now have grown the Company to include employees, an office, clients, a P&L, VAT returns and a whole heap of additional responsibilities. 

Congratulations, you have succeeded where many have failed.  The challenges do not stop here though.  You are now at the helm of a growing business and quickly approaching a crossroads. At some point in the not too distant future, your business will become too big and will require you to rethink how you direct the Company.

Your leadership style will need to change to keep growing the Company, you can no longer manager the team as a Founder, working in the business by getting hands deep into the day to day work.  You now need to step back, take a breath and start leading the Company onto your intended vision.

But how do you do this? 

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Personal data management

In an age of social media, our new ease with over oversharing and giving personal information to complete strangers without thinking about it, never has personal data management been more in the spot light.  

We think nothing of shouting to the world what used to be deeply personal information.  How many of us have posted how excited we are to be at the airport heading on holiday for 2 weeks, giving no thought to the fact that we may have previously posted photos of our homes or may even have put into Facebook set up screens our home address, homes that are now empty and open to social media searching burglars to empty at their leisure – they know where you live, where you are now and when you are back, by the time you are posting that you are back at the airport heading home your house is an empty shell.

 When was the last time you checked your social media security settings and just how safe is the data we give to sites and Apps?  How much data can Companies gather from our innocently accessing Wi-Fi in coffee shops? Will the introduction of GDPR close down data mining loopholes?

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Workforce attrition, good or bad?

The employee attrition at the White House under President trump is the highest ever seen.  Forbes recently reported that during the President’s first year the administration saw a 34% turnover rate – that’s more than one in three Trump administration staffers, and it's not just any sorts of departures, a large number of these were Trump's senior-most staff, some of these senior roles have seen the incumbent replaced multiple times.

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The BC employee trap

Anyone who has had responsibility for a team will probably have had to deal with a BC player at some time.  A BC player is someone that is performing in their role at the right level, potentially performing over and above your expectations, however, they are a square peg in a round hole.  They just don’t fit for whatever reason and because of this they are rubbing you and the rest of the team up the wrong way. 

 BC players are difficult characters to manage but manage them you must, or you will fall into the trap of showing that results are more important than the culture of your Company.

 Here are 3 traps that show how it’s easier to retain than deal with a BC player:

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Why we need to have an exit strategy

At some point I am sure you, like me, see a lovely healthy and financially comfortable retirement in your future.  Mine sees me living close to a beach with no concerns at all apart from a daily quick look outside the door to make sure the sun is shining and today is indeed a beach day (I don’t trust weather apps!).

My parent’s generation and the generations before were very confident that they had this future planned out financially.  They tended to stay with the same Company from leaving school till retirement, diligently saved into their Company pension scheme and retired somewhere between the ages of 55 and 65 with a good income to see them living comfortably. 

Statistically this was all possible.  In the 1950’s it was reported that for every person over the age of 65, there were 7.2 people between the ages of 20 and 64 that helped pay for older generations retirement plans with their own pension contributions.  

However, it is predicted in 2050 that this number will have decreased to 1.8, the combination of increased life expectancy, a fixed retirement age and a decrease in fertility rates are having a detrimental impact to our Company pensions schemes.

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Accountability - Why all the fuss?

I chose to write this piece now as I wanted to share my  findings where, over the years,  I have discovered a growing epidemic of the lack of Accountability within senior teams in business.

The word accountability is often over used and misunderstood and many a time I will ask the CEO if she / he has an issue with accountability in their business and the immediate reply is along the lines of –

“Oh no, we don’t have a problem with accountability here”

Then after a few probing questions it is very clear that actually it is probably one of the main areas that needs improvement.

I have found that there are 2 main aspects to Accountability that require attention:

  1. Holding Yourself Accountable &
  2. Holding Others Accountable

Both of which have huge benefits and because of this great return, tends to be challenging to implement. As I often say, “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it!”

Accountability essentially means 'the ability to hold yourself to account' that basically means 'the buck stops with you'.

So, let’s take a closer look at why being able to hold yourself and others to account is important and some tips on how to improve your score (also see below for more details of how you can measure this with our questionnaire)

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Making the Most of Your Time: 5 Productivity Tips Top Coaches Live By

It’s not enough to dream of success. It’s not even enough to set goals.

The only way to truly achieve your dreams and build the business you’re meant to build is to sit down and just do it.

And that’s where many of us…well, fail is a strong word. But it’s the doing that trips us up more times than not.

We overbook our calendars until today’s to-dos become next week’s past dues. We procrastinate on the things that are important while attending to things that are merely “nice to do.” And sometimes we simply take on too much—even when we know better.

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Why do we need a BHAG?

In his book “Good to Great”, Jim Collins’ research found that all great companies had developed and pursued a goal through time that was so challenging they might not know how they would accomplish it when they first set out, it was likely to be thought as impossible by anyone outside the Company, but was internally regarded as completely possible.  Jim Collins called this goal a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” or BHAG for short.

To have an exciting and achievable plan - either personal or business - you need to identify a BHAG. Something so inspirational that you (if this is a personal plan) or your Employees (for a Company plan) can get fired up over.  Something that gets the juices flowing, something challenging and yet fulfilling and totally possible if you put everything behind it.

 

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2017 – the last push!

Wow, where did 2017 go!  Has it whizzed past you at speed as it has us? 

Here we are at the beginning of November, and there are only 8 business weeks of the year left.  If you assume the “Festive Season” celebrations will put a stop to business for approximately 2 weeks, then in reality we have only 6 weeks left to achieve our business plan targets and cross the finish line.

So how are you doing?  

If at this point you are reaching into your bottom drawer and blowing off the dust that settled over the business plan you sweated blood and many hours over at the end of 2016 to write, then it’s likely that you have deviated away from your plan and have spent much of this year chasing targets and work that haven’t in any way moved you forward to your achieving the overall target.

If this is you, don’t despair, there are still a few weeks left to crack the essentials of the plan and see some positive steps forward.

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When should you engage a coach?

How many of us have tried to diet or improve our fitness by ourselves?  We know we need to make some changes in our health, but are lost to know what we are doing wrong and how to put these things right. So, we join a gym or buy organic, but are often left out of pocket financially and still the same weight and still chowing down on fast food!

We start with great intensions, complete online research to the foods to avoid and those we need to eat, and may even have seen some great results at the beginning, but walking past fast food outlets becomes impossible after a few weeks – one burger and chips won’t hurt will it?  And were back on the slippery slope heading back to our bad habits and our results start show our lack of focus.

 

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Making the impossible possible!

The UK Environmental Minister, Michael Gove, recently announced that Briton will ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health.  23 years sounds a long time away, but the move to electric cars and vans will take many years to achieve. 

Car Companies need to move forward on electric innovation and the development of technology, charging stations need to be incorporated into the landscape and finally the population mentality needs to change in line with the Governments vision.    Electric cars currently account for less than 5 percent of new car registrations in Britain, with drivers concerned about the cost and limited availability of charging points and manufacturers worried about making expensive investments before the demand is there.  The statement from the Government was therefore a huge step towards the protection of the environment.

What is important here is that the UK have announced a date and committed to significant change in mindset.  By doing this they are already half way there to making it happen. Without the vision and commitment, then big, life changing events do not happen. Who can forget John F Kennedy’s famous 1961 speech “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth”, by committing to this achievement both financially and verbally, man landed on the moon in 1969 with the eyes of the world watching.

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Why it's important to be clear as a leader

Say what you mean

I watched with interest the James Comey meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee.  Highly interesting on many levels and I am sure this is not the last we have heard about the situation.  The main learning I took from the meeting is that Leaders need to be clear when giving instructions or making a request.  Much of the meeting with the Committee seemed to be based around the phrase “that’s what I took him to mean”. 

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The Leadership Gap and Why Baby Boomers Need to Step Up

It’s a fact: Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 – 1964) are retiring at a greater rate than ever. Many, like myself, had to delay their departure from corporate life due to the recent recession but are now making up for lost time by finding alternative ways to make up their retirement pot deficit to live the life they have dreamed of for years.

They are doing this by creating lifestyle businesses of their own, increasingly online, where they can utilise the actual technology that was one of the reasons for their decline in face to face communication and hence engagement within company cultures over the past 20 years.

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