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Need to improve execution? Here’s how


Think back to January.  Did you resolve to do something life-changing? Get fit or lose some weight?  How’s that going now?  Hit your target?  Thought not. Admittedly, you do have some pretty good excuses.  Life hasn’t exactly been normal recently.  Three months of lock-down and an economic crisis can really mess up your life plans.  But, with the best will in the world, it’s pretty normal to fail at execution. 

The same thing goes for businesses.  Getting people to change is the real challenge of execution.  You can come up with the most persuasive, jaw-dropping strategy in the world.  But without total buy-in from your staff, it’s likely to wither and die.

When I visit businesses for the first time and talk to people, I know exactly what they’re going to tell me.  There are three things that are always true. One – nobody praises them enough for a job well done. Two – they don’t know what’s going on most of the time.  And three – management are always starting big initiatives and never finish them.  Sound familiar?

So how do you overcome this and make execution more effective?

The Power of Staying Curious with Michael Bungay Stanie

If you want to improve the managers in your business, says Michael Bungay Stanier, do more coaching. You might think coaching equals being soft, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. 

“When I’m asked to talk about my philosophy of coaching I’ve got two words, and the words are Fierce Love.”

Michael wrote the book on coaching, literally. The Coaching Habit is the biggest book on coaching this century. He is the go-to guy for anything coaching related – his 7 questions format has revolutionised coaching, and while we don’t necessarily talk about those today, they do feature. 

In this enlightening episode all about coaching, Michael, (who’s also founder of Box of Crayons – a learning and development company helping organisations shift from advice-driven to curiosity-led), talks about his latest book – The Advice Trap

This conversation is full of fantastic insights from Michael on how to be a better coach, how to be a better leader, and how to encourage coaching inside your organisation. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

News from the farm

Foundry Farm Entrance Sign


It’s the final countdown for our Scaling Up Summit and Workshop. In pre-COVID-19 times, you might normally have already attended a few energising business events. Now, you’ve done a few online, but the experience is not the same. Is it? Well, that’s been our experience.

That is why we are launching our Scaling Up Summit and Workshop here on the Farm, near Salisbury. In September the children will be back at school. It’s time for us to be back to work, back to GROWTH! In our Scaling Up Summit, you and 99 other business leaders will spend a day working on your business, being inspired to think differently and building momentum into 2021.

If you already are a Monkhouse & Company client, don’t worry! We’ve saved your team a seat at the Summit! 

The Summit will be a high impact mix of fast-paced, full of energy 20-minute talks, followed by 45-minute workshops, so you can go away with the practical knowledge to take your company forward. This event will help you pivot your business and inspire you to get the energy back into your team.

We have carefully curated 9 inspirational speakers that our current clients have found of great value for their businesses. They will talk about core customers, strategic positioning, innovation, productivity, and more. Some of them have been guests on The Melting Pot podcast, including Shannon Byrne Susko, Justin Roff-Marsh and Nic Marks. 

The following day, we’re holding a Scaling Up Workshop. Bring your team to our one-day Scaling Up Workshop, where you will get the clarity you need to move forward, by identifying your strategy and achieve your 3-Year Highly Achievable Goal (3HAG). After this highly practical session, your team will leave with a clear-cut understanding of the purpose and core values that make your company unique and valuable. The team will have the opportunity to take part in the decision-making to implement the tools and best practices to define and enforce a clear 3-year plan to scale up your business.

Further info and booking for the Summit HERE

Further info and booking for the Workshop HERE


A show about how to kick ass at work without losing your humanity by practicing the principles of Radical Candor. Host Amy Sandler leads discussions with Radical Candor co-founders Kim Scott and Jason Rosoff about what it means to be Radically Candid, why it’s hard and why it’s worth it. Tune in to get actionable tips for doing the best work of your life and building the best relationships of your career.


The Covid-19 pandemic has forced countless companies to reorganize at an accelerated pace. To understand what makes a crisis-driven reorganization succeed or fail, we drew on our own 15 years of experience advising companies on organizational change, as well as a database compiled by Quartz Associates and HBR documenting over 2,500 reorganizations. The database shows that crisis-driven reorganizations are a net benefit in just two thirds of cases; 19% actually damage the company, and only 8% fully deliver everything they aim to in the time planned. What can leaders do to increase their chances of success?


I was working with a client team recently encouraging them to build a regular, weekly cadence of customer interviews to inform the release of their brand new B2C communications tool. The team was enthusiastic. The tool had met with a large number of downloads out of the gate and the quantitative feedback combined with inbound requests and complaints along with App Store reviews left them with a mountain of optimization options. “How do we prioritize?”, they asked me. 


Most profitable strategies are built on differentiation: offering customers something they value that competitors don’t have. But most companies, in seeking to differentiate themselves, focus their energy only on their products or services. In fact, a company has the opportunity to differentiate itself at every point where it comes in contact with its customers—from the moment customers realize that they need a product or service to the time when they no longer want it and decide to dispose of it. We believe that if companies open up their creative thinking to their customers’ entire experience with a product or service—what we call the consumption chain—they can uncover opportunities to position their offerings in ways that they, and their competitors, would never have thought possible.


The Four Disciplines of Execution is about a simple, proven formula for reaching the goals you want to reach as a business or individual. In Covey’s experience, the thing that most undermines the ability to execute goals is what he calls the Whirlwind: those urgent tasks that must be done simply to keep an organization alive. As Covey shows, the only way to execute new, important goals is to separate those goals from the Whirlwind. The Four Disciplines allow leaders to create a strategy that requires a change in behaviour, since only by ensuring that everyone on the team understands the goal, knows what to do to reach it and knows whether progress is being made, will a leader produce consistent breakthrough results while sustaining the urgent work of the Whirlwind. The Four Disciplines of Execution are: 1. Focus on the Wildly Important; 2. Act on the Lead Measures; 3. Keep a Compelling Scoreboard; 4. Create a Cadence of Accountability.


When Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire received the call to serve as force commander of the UN mission to Rwanda, he thought he was heading off to Africa to help two warring parties achieve a peace both sides wanted. Instead, he and members of his small international force were caught up in a vortex of civil war and genocide. Dallaire left Rwanda a broken man; disillusioned, suicidal, and determined to tell his story. An award-winning international sensation, Shake Hands with the Devil is a landmark contribution to the literature of war: a remarkable tale of a soldier’s courage and an unforgettable portrait of modern warfare. It is also a stinging indictment of the petty bureaucrats who refused to give Dallaire the men and the operational freedom he needed to stop the killing. ‘I know there is a God,’ Dallaire writes, ‘because in Rwanda I shook hands with the devil. I have seen him, I have smelled him and I have touched him. I know the devil exists and therefore I know there is a God.’



Ever find your attention wandering off during a particularly long and boring Zoom meeting?  You need to agree an etiquette amongst your team.  Promise that next time you find yourself disengaged, you turn off your camera.  That way, the person presenting knows they’ve gone on too long or lost you somewhere along the way. Commit to this as a team.  If you were in a room, the person speaking would know they’d lost their audience.  This is much harder when you’re remote.  And, while you’re at it, resolve that there’s no more ‘On Mute’ behaviour.  This forces everyone to find a quiet space so they can focus on the meeting, not the many distractions around them.  It will get you away from the usual chorus of, ‘Oh – you’re on mute’ and the gesticulations that go with this. A simple etiquette has the power to transform your Zoom meetings.

Upcoming Events

Monkhouse & Company Summit, Foundry Farm near Salisbury – 15 September 2020

Join us for a day of learning, development and fun. We’ll be hosting 9 keynote speakers to talk about culture, strategy and execution.  They’ll also facilitate a workshop to help you put into practice what you’ve learned. Confirmed speakers include: Justin Roff-Marsh, author of The Machine; and Nic Marks, founder of Friday Pulse and the Happy Planet Index. We’re excited to see you here!

Scaling Up Workshop, Foundry Farm near Salisbury – 16 September 2020

Looking to get back on track because COVID-19 disrupted your plans? Join us with your leadership team for a one-day Scaling Up Workshop. Get the clarity you need to move forward, by identifying your strategy and achieve your 3-Year Highly Achievable Goal (3HAG). After this highly practical session, your team will leave with a clear-cut understanding of the purpose and core values that make your company unique and valuable. The team will have the opportunity to take part in the decision-making to implement the tools and best practices to define and enforce a clear 3-year plan to scale up your business.

Acetech Summit, Whistler – 14-16 October 2020 (re-scheduled)

An exclusive annual gathering of high-growth tech CEOs. This powerful three-day summit will transform how you define success and deliver growth in 2020 and beyond.

Quote of the week

‘Ideas don’t make you rich. The correct execution of ideas does.’

Felix Dennis

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