Helping Companies Succeed
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Posted by: In: Blog 21 Jul 2016 0 comments

Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States, famously said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” After decades, this still holds true today.

I have heard people ask, “Why make plans when they never work out anyway?” There may be merit in such a question, but imagine not having a plan at all. At least if things changes you can adjust your plans, but having no plan is suicide for any business.

Recently I helped one of my clients in the distribution industry put a plan together. Although they have been successful in the past, they mostly managed the business on the amount of cashflow generated. Although cash is king, as my first year financial management lecturer drilled into us, you also need to know what your levers for success are. Is it sales volume, profitably, quality or uniqueness? Cash only tells you what is in your bank account. If you want to know if you are making a profit and how you can increase sales and margins, you need a set of financial reports, targets and a plan.

The plan I helped my client put together made a phenomenal difference in their business. Not only is the leadership team on the same page, but they are also monitoring their progress weekly to ensure they are in line with the plan. Without a plan you cannot measure progress nor can you measure success.

I used to make use of Excel spreadsheets, Word documents and file-sharing utilities such as Google Drive to maintain plans for clients, it was tricky to ensure that we all worked from the same version, which meant that tasks ended up not being done. If you don’t execute your plan you will be standing still until you go out of business. I have recently moved my clients to aligntoday.com, a cloud application where we capture the company success plan, allocate priorities and tasks, and monitor progress. It’s made a huge difference. Everybody has access to the plan at anytime and from anywhere and tasks get executed. Everybody is engaged on the road to success.

If you are interested in what www.aligntoday.com can do for your business, email me at jacques@centred.co.za for a complementary consultation.

 

Keep on planning!

 

Posted by: In: Blog 20 Jul 2016 0 comments

Earlier this week I received a most inspiring phone call. Well it was actually a missed call as I was in consultation with a client. I could see who it was and wondered why Paul gave me a call. I knew his business was going through a tough time. They recently partnered with a top Swiss brand to sell their products and invested a large amount of money and time into it. When I visited them about 2 months ago, they still had not made any sales and with losing their top sales guy things were not looking rosy. Even though I always believed in them and their business, I was not sure what to expect.

On my way to my next client I gave Paul a call. He sounded his usual dry self. I enjoy his dry sense of humour and we banter about different subjects very comfortably. This time round he was quick of the mark to share his news with me. They had just signed a deal to deliver their premium Swiss product worth over 30 000 euro’s! And because I had walked a path with them and their business, he wanted to share the good news with me. I was ecstatic, not just for them for persevering and believing they can make it work but also ecstatic in the proof, once again, that even when people think it is tough, there is always hope, always a silver lining. No matter what you sell, whether a premium product or service, with perseverance and excellent customer service you will succeed. Paul and his team pride themselves on going the extra mile for their clients.

I cannot wait to visit them next week after work with a bottle of Moet.

Have a great weekend every one, and remember to walk away from the neigh saying and walk straight into disciplines and excellent customer service.

 

Posted by: In: Blog 22 Jun 2016 0 comments

 

Posted by: In: Blog, Setting goals 09 May 2016 0 comments

goal setting advice

Goal setting is one of the most powerful tools in achieving success. One could also refer to goals as priorities, targets, objectives and a few other names. The naming is irrelevant, as they use the same approach to achieve success: focus.

CEO and leadership teams are able to set these goals for their company which usually includes a sales target value, or to obtain a certain number of new customers or to perhaps launch a new product or service offering by a specific date. These are all good and well if they include the magic ingredient.

Aligning your vision with your goals

This ingredients is so obvious but we miss it so many times. It relates to the reason why we get out of bed every day. Simon Sinek refers to it in his famous TED talk to the Why? This is the reason why we climb Mount Everest – because we want to summit. And that is our vision. Getting to the different base camps on our way up are the goals we want to achieve in pursuit of our ultimate purpose – to summit the mountain. When we have an overarching vision all the goals we set along the way make so much sense. They are then aligned with our vision. And our focus then becomes the goals. From base camp 1 are focus is set on the next base camp and then again to the next and the next until we achieve our vision. It give meaning to our goals and links them to our heart. It is what makes the difference when thinks get thought. That is why the wright Brothers achieve their vision of flight. Every little goal they set were part of a bigger picture.

Now, the big question for CEO’s and their leadership team are:

  • Can people in your company clearly articulate your vision and do they buy into it?
  • Our ability to focus is one of the

Short to medium term goal are very effective when used together with a Plan of Action. Let me give you an example from one of my clients. The goal is to produce 2500 units for the month of May. The plan of action would then include steps such as, communicate goal with team and get buy-in, communicate goal with input material team, repair machine xyz, etc.

Need help with business coaching? Email jacques@centred.co.za

 


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Posted by: In: Blog 16 Mar 2016 0 comments Tags: , , ,

Happiness

Successful companies like Zappos (which was purchased by Amazon for over R1 billion) understand that their most important asset is their people, but not just their people – but rather happy people! Research has proven that happiness is a precursor to success and not vice versa. Happy people are also more productive and less absent.

The big question that clients ask me when I share this research with them is, “How do we make our people happy?”. The answer is unfortunately not what they want to hear and as a business coach it’s my duty to share reality in an unemotional way… “You cannot make people happy, period”. That being said, I share 3 strategies they can follow to ensure their workplace includes happy people.

The 1st strategy is to employ happy people. No one can really make a person happy. People can only make themselves happy and it is not a company’s job to make people happy (see the 2nd strategy for what is considered a company’s responsibility). Therefore, if you employ people that are already happy, you are halfway to success.

The 2nd strategy is to create an environment where people can be happy. The employer’s responsibility in creating this environment is to be extremely clear on what the goals of the company are. You can test this by asking your employees what these goals are in an anonymous employee survey. It is also important to share information about behaviour with your employees – do they know what behaviours are acceptable? Do they know what is encouraged and discouraged? Business coaches and consultants refer to this either as the core values of the company or the company culture. The trick here is to relate behaviours to specifics values, for example, at your next company meeting share an example of an employee living out one of the values, let’s say for honesty.  A possible story could be how an employee picked up a wallet with money in it and handed it in to reception.

The 3rd strategy is to release employees to industry when they are not a cultural fit for the company. Employees that don’t have the same value system as the company will be unhappy at the company in the long run. I have seen this play out again and again. People like people who believe in the same things (this is true for any kind of relationship). If a person is not happy at a company they will start to spread negative energy and it is your duty to other employees to prevent this spread as soon as possible. I always suggest that clients have open and honest conversations with employees on this subject and to even go so far as to help an employee, who is not a good cultural fit, find work at a company that is more in line with their values. Not only will you be doing your company a favour but you will be doing them a favour, nudging them towards their own happiness and success.

For more on happiness, I can recommend the website www.deleveringhapiness.com or send me an email at jacques@centred.co.za

 


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Posted by: In: Blog 02 Mar 2016 1 comment

conquer

 

How does one eat an elephant?

How does one eat and elephant? The answer is simple, one bite at a time.

The same applies to your company. You could for instance ask, ‘How do I double the size of my company”? The same answer applies, ‘One bite at a time’. Companies don’t just double their size overnight. Through determined focus and persistence they are however able to do it by not biting off more than they can chew.

Most company leaders are optimist. It is part of their nature and the way they approach the world. The effect of this behavioural trait is that leaders sometimes take on more than is realistic to accomplish.

The trick is not to try and change too much at a time or to bite of too much of the elephant. I have been in numerous meetings where a laundry list is compiled of all the things that have to be done. It is almost like your child’s wish list for Christmas – it has everything on, from a new brother/sister to teeth for Grandma. The key to growing your company is to just take one thing, do it properly and get it done. Only when you tick the box do you consider the next item on the list of priorities.

Now imagine you can increase the performance of your company just 1% every week or that you can make 1 change in your company in a week. At the end of the year this will amount to 52! Without even taking the effects of compound improvement into account, just imagine what the benefits would be.

Focusing on a small thing for a short period of time is the most effective way to mover your company forward. Enjoy the journey of success!

 


 

Posted by: In: Blog 02 Mar 2016 1 comment

coaching

 

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there?” – Lewis Carroll

Sally reviewed her goals at the end of 2015 – she felt disappointment as she hardly achieved any of them! She recalled feeling so positive at the beginning of 2015 that she could achieve them; excited that she would be living her potential. That was after all the purpose of goals?

What Sally did realise is that setting goals is easy. Almost anybody can do it. However, setting the right goals and achieving them is a skill. And achieving them is not an event but a process. After talking to many people, especially those managing or owning companies, Sally found that many people (or companies) don’t set goals anymore. Through probing she came to the conclusion that people don’t set goal because they never materialise and that the disappointment is just too great and demoralising!

Sally recalled a famous quote by Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right”. The same applies to goal setting Sally thought. She decided that she can achieve her goals and after some research realised that she needs to do thing differently. Like Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. The 2 things recommended by the experts, and that Sally decided to do is:

  1. Make sure that her goals are measurable. Sally, as Head of Sales previously had her goal to increase performance of her team. Her new goal for 2016 is to achieve average sales per person of R 1 200 000 (which is a 20% increase on 2015).
  2. Secondly, she must review her goals regularly (and not just at the end of the year!). Sally committed to review her personal goals weekly as well as that of her team.

May 2016 be a success for you and Sally through the progressive realisation of your worthwhile, predetermined goals!