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Are you clear on the context of your business? | Issue #185

Why strategic context is so essential to business growth

Let me ask you a question. What’s the best fruit in the world? Apples maybe?  Or grapes? I might be thinking bananas. But if I qualified that question by asking what’s the best fruit in the world for sports performance? Then we might both agree on bananas. We’ve added some context.

Context is at the heart of strategy. And yet so few businesses grasp this. I ask people to explain to me their strategy, and instead of this, they give me a business plan full of tactical actions. Often, it’s an Excel spreadsheet with vague aspirations to get to a certain level of turnover or grow by 30%.  But there’s no strategic context to this. There is no mention of a sustainable business model and recognition of the business culture underpinning this. Yet these are fundamental to strategy and planning.

Lack of contextual strategy leads companies to take on different types of customers. ‘Revenue is revenue’ is the attitude here, wherever it comes from.  But if you’re constantly chasing revenue for its own sake, you’ll end up with a random mix of business and no clear idea of the direction you want to take the company.  Coming back to the fruit analogy. You’ll have no grasp of what to eat to increase your stamina—just a load of fruit.

The Five Principles to Bring Out Your Best Self with CEO & Leadership Coach, Amy Jen Su

How can you be the leader you want to be, every day? The answer, says Amy Jen Su, lies in focusing on five key leadership elements – Purpose, Process, People, Presence, and Peace. 

In this enjoyable conversation, Amy, CEO and leadership coach of 20 years, author of The Leader You Want to Be: Five Essential Principles to Bringing Out Your Best Self – Every Day, and co-founder and Managing Partner of Paravis Partners, a boutique executive coaching and leadership development firm, talks listeners through the five essential principles that she’s identified for bringing out your best self. 

Because, says Amy, the answer lies within.

So, if you haven’t worked out what your purpose is yet, or if you have, but you’re still figuring out how you can deliver that purpose, don’t miss Amy on this episode of The Melting Pot.

You Are Not So Smart

You Are Not So Smart is a show about psychology that celebrates science and self-delusion. In each episode, we explore what we’ve learned so far about reasoning, biases, judgments, and decision-making.

The Revolt Against the Cover Letter

Emboldened by today’s flush job market, six in ten job applicants are skipping the “required” cover letter.

Keeping Sight of Your Company’s Long-Term Vision

One of the most visible and essential elements of your job as a leader is to create an exciting, unified vision of the longer-term future for your company or unit. This is difficult enough, but even once a vision is in place, many leaders fail to execute on it over the many years that it may require.

What It Takes to Build an Organizational Culture That Wins

In a world of short-term thinking, an effective organizational culture provides the ultimate competitive advantage. In Win from WithinJames Heskett offers a roadmap for developing one.

Get It Done by Ayelet Fishbach

A great deal of ink has been spilled on the subject of motivating and influencing others, but what happens when the person you most want to influence is you? Setting and achieving goals for yourself – at work, at home, and in relationships – is harder than it seems. How do you know where to start? How do you carry on in the face of roadblocks and distractions? How do you decide which tasks and ambitions to prioritize when you’re faced with more responsibilities, needs and desires than you can keep track of? In Get it Done, psychologist and behavioural scientist Ayelet Fishbach presents a new theoretical framework for self-motivated action, explaining how to identify the right goals, attack the ‘middle problem’, battle temptations, use the help of others around you and so much more.

The Science of Dream Teams by Mike Zani

How do you find the perfect person for the job in a stack of hundreds of resumes? Why do some teams succeed while others―made up of equally talented people―stumble? If the quality of your workforce is your company’s most important asset, then why are your managers still basing these critical decisions primarily on interviews and their gut instincts? In The Science of Dream Teams, Mike Zani details a data-driven approach to talent optimization that makes hiring, motivating, and managing people more efficient and effective than ever.

News from the farm

CEO Bootcamp with Verne Harnish and Dominic Monkhouse

What are the constraints in your business? What’s keeping you from scaling?

This September, Verne Harnish is coming to the first CEO Bootcamp in the UK to spend time with you and 9 other business leaders and their #2’s in a 4-day reinvigorating experience.  

You will work closely with Verne and Dominic to address your more pressing challenges and uncover those opportunities you’re overlooking and that will truly help you move the needle in your business.

Apply today to join Verne and Dominic at Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, near Bath (UK).

Monday 12th, September – Thursday 15th, September

Register Here


Get your team involved in designing meaningful trophies for your awards

In companies that I’ve run, we’ve always given awards to people. One option would be to go online and buy some horrible silver trophies. But, in keeping with last week’s advice about getting your people involved, here’s another excellent option. At Rackspace, we were constantly recycling memory chips in the data centre. What we did was embed these computer parts into acetate blocks that became the Rackstar trophies. So the staff designed their own. Instead of coming top-down and having the manager buy it, we crowdsourced it from the company. You’re giving an award for your employee of the month, the quarter or the year, that will sit on somebody’s desk. So, what should it look like? Instead of the management doing it,  get the team to design something meaningful for each award.

Upcoming events

Scale Up Workshop with Dominic Monkhouse – 23rd June

Are you on your way to achieving the goals to set up for this year? Is your team aligned and rowing in the same direction to execute your vision? If your answer is no, or if you hesitated, we can help. Join Dominic Monkhouse on a half-day practical session, to get away from the uproar of the everyday commercial world and look at your business afresh – to recognise your strengths, your weaknesses and your opportunities.

Quote of the week

“Building a visionary company requires one percent vision and 99 percent alignment.”

Jim Collins

Dominic Monkhouse

Dominic offers business coaching and management development, strategy planning and organisational change, using tried and tested methods to launch your organisation onto an unparalleled growth trajectory. His programme is a function of his broad experience, his deep expertise and a proven process used by over 2,700 firms worldwide.

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