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Time to review your vision

Is Your Business Still Heading in the Right Direction?

Brutal. That’s how I’d describe 2020. And 2021 isn’t shaping up much better.  Here we are in our third national lockdown with all the challenges this brings to UK businesses. It’s hard to keep ploughing on when the ground you stand on is constantly shifting.

This is why you need faith. Balanced by realism about your current situation.  I’ve been re-reading Jim Collins’ seminal books, ‘Good to Great’ and ‘Great by Choice’ over Christmas. He describes the experience of James Stockdale – the highest-ranked American prisoner-of-war in the Vietnam War, calling it ‘the Stockdale Paradox’.

Stockdale was locked up for a long, long time – over eight years.  In this time, many of his fellow prisoners gave up the will to live. They were the optimists.  The ones who were saying, we’ll be out by Christmas or Easter or their next birthday and eventually ran out of hope.  In contrast, Stockdale lived day to day, accepting the reality of his situation.  But he never lost faith that he would make it out alive and it would become the defining event of his life.

It’s easy to see the parallels. You need to plan for the worst, but hope for the best. As 2021 kicks off, it’s time to revisit your vision and purpose. Are you still heading towards the same long term goal?  Did this serve you last year?  Was it alive in your business or do you need to do more to push it down to staff?  Going through this process will help to pull your head up out of the nightmare of COVID, no matter how bad it gets. You’ll recognise that growth rarely goes in a straight line. And that 2020 was just a blip. I’m here to tell you, ‘Keep the faith. You will come back bigger and stronger’.


How To Drive Innovation Inside Your Organisation with Pete Newell

Are you wondering how your business can innovate better? Are you confusing methodologies and activities with the process of actually keeping and creating a pipeline of innovation? 

Then don’t miss this hugely insightful episode all about innovation, with the internationally recognised innovation expert, Pete Newell. 

Pete finished his 32-year military career with a 3-year tour running the US Army’s skunkworks – or in layman’s terms, he was the Director of the US Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF). He had a remit to go and find problems and solve them, using commercial technology to solve a battlefield problem. 

Out of the 300 problems he was tasked with solving, he found resolutions for 20 of them. An incredible hit rate.

When he realised he couldn’t stay in that role indefinitely, Pete retired from the military to found BMNT, an innovation consultancy and early-stage technology incubator that helps solve some of the hardest real-world problems in US national security, state and local governments, and beyond. 

Pete is also founder and co-author, with Lean Startup founder Steve Blank, of Hacking for Defense (H4D)®, an academic programme originally taught at Stanford University. 

“[This is] the only class they take in their academic career that allows them to use everything they use in university or network they build to work on a real problem with real people to give them real experience that leads to real jobs.”

So to find out what the fundamental things are inside an organisation that you need to do to drive innovation in your business, don’t miss this fantastic conversation 


Reach or Miss

This podcast is about the customer-focused entrepreneur. Hayut Yogev chats with Guy Kawasaki, John Lee Dumas, Michael Stelzner, Kate Erickson, Chris Brogan, Mark Schaefer, Joe Pulizzi, Marcus Sheridan and more successful entrepreneurs and opinion leaders about their Customers Approach and Focus. The goal is to help entrepreneurs and startup founders to reach business success with the right strategy, marketing and sales approach.


3 Tenets of a Strong Remote Culture

Because of the pandemic, we are now engaged in the largest behavioral experiment in the history of work. The questions we had previously been asking about the future of work in an era of advanced technology are no longer just about the future — they’re about now. And among the most pressing questions is: How can we build and sustain a robust culture in our organization if we rarely see each other in person? Can we maintain a shared and strongly felt set of norms, values, and beliefs? Can we really Zoom ourselves to the same level of closeness, collaboration, and mentorship without physical co-location?

Why honing your company’s culture should be a top priority in 2021

Now more than ever, leaders are analyzing, debating, and trying to predict what the new year will bring. We have never before experienced such uncertainty and unpredictability affecting all areas of business.

Hire more for skills, less for industry experience

COVID-19 has forced companies to rapidly adapt to changing talent needs. More than 70 million U.S. workers filed for unemployment insurance from March through December. Now, more organizations are converting what were furloughs early in the pandemic to permanent job losses.


Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

From the author: “For the last two years, I’ve interviewed nearly two hundred world-class performers for my podcast,The Tim Ferriss Show. The guests range from super celebs (Jamie Foxx, Arnold Schwarzenegger, etc.) and athletes (icons of powerlifting, gymnastics, surfing, etc.) to legendary Special Operations commanders and black-market biochemists. For most of my guests, it’s the first time they’ve agreed to a two-to-three-hour interview, and the show is on the cusp of passing 100 million downloads. This book contains the distilled tools, tactics, and ‘inside baseball’ you won’t find anywhere else. It also includes new tips from past guests, and life lessons from new ‘guests’ you haven’t met. What makes the show different is a relentless focus on actionable details. Everything within these pages has been vetted, explored, and applied to my own life in some fashion. I’ve used dozens of the tactics and philosophies in high-stakes negotiations, high-risk environments, or large business dealings. The lessons have made me millions of dollars and saved me years of wasted effort and frustration. I created this book, my ultimate notebook of high-leverage tools, for myself. It’s changed my life, and I hope the same for you.”


The Lean Start-up by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup is the approach to business that’s being adopted around the world. It is changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.

The Lean Startup is about learning what your customers really want. It’s about testing your vision continuously, adapting and adjusting before it’s too late.

Now is the time to think Lean.


MEANINGFUL ACTION FOR MONDAY

Organise a Review of Your BHAG, Purpose and Values

To kick off 2021, block out a day for your Executive Team and Senior Management to review your BHAG, Purpose and Core Values. Use this larger team to do the acid test. Did your business use the values all day, every day in 2020? If not, discuss what you could do differently this year to make it happen. This merits a full day to do the exercise justice and re-connect your team with the vision.


Upcoming Events

Prescription For Growth Workshop, Foundry Farm near Salisbury – TBA

A special workshop presented by Justin Roff-Marsh (author of The Machine) and hosted by Dominic Monkhouse at Foundry Farm near Salisbury. Join 21 of your peers (owners and senior executives from mid-sized businesses) and design a simple (but detailed) plan to expedite the growth of your organization.

Scaling Up Business Growth Workshop, Foundry Farm near Salisbury – 18th of March 2021

When the going gets tough, attitude trumps everything. Don’t let COVID-19 beat you into the ground and take your business. Treat this pandemic as an accelerator. The “one thing” you’ve been looking for to pivot, re-evaluate or simply get shit done. Join us on our farm in Wiltshire to walk through our Scaling Up growth programme.

Acetech Summit, Whistler – April 2021 (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 2021 and beyond.


Quote of the week

“Victory awaits him who has everything in order—luck people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck.”

Roald Amundsen at the South Pole

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.

Want to scale up? Join my newsletter to receive a copy of my book, ‘F**K Plan B: How to scale your technology business faster and achieve Plan A’.