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How An Activity Fit Map Will Set Your Business Apart From Your Competitors

What is it that differentiates your business from others in the same space?  Do you know immediately or is your answer a bit vague?  Sometimes it’s not as clear-cut as you might think.

Nobody would argue that differentiation is important. It’s obvious.  Being different will help your company develop unique niches within competitive markets and enable it to thrive.  Yet many businesses try to be all things to all people. And often, they’ve no clear handle on what it is that makes them unique.

When we ask our clients about their differentiators, they’re often wrong.  Assumptions that they’ve made just don’t hold up when we dig down into the details of their business.  This is where an Activity Fit Map can really help.  It’s something we use all the time to bring clarity.

The beauty of this tool, developed by Michael Porter in the mid-80s, is it takes our clients on a journey of discovery. For the first time, they can properly visualise their business model in glorious technicolour.  It’s so satisfying to see their ‘Eureka’ moment as the scales fall away from their eyes!


Why A Contrarian Could Help Your Business Grow with Alastair Dryburgh

Is everything you know about business wrong? 

Alastair Dryburgh is a contrarian who taught himself to think differently so that he can help businesses that want to remaster themselves. 

For 10 years, Alastair penned a monthly column for Management Today titled, ‘everything you know about business is wrong’, which is why he’s the perfect guest for The Melting Pot. Because if your business is suffering and you can’t figure out what the problem is, maybe Alastair can help. 

Alastair is a recovering finance director who studied maths at Cambridge University. While becoming an FD was a natural career path, it never made him happy, which is why he segued into the world of business reengineering and crisis management. 

Alastair happily acknowledges he’s a bit weird as it allows him to look at business from a different perspective, a perspective that most business owners can’t see for themselves. 

Download and listen to this latest episode to hear Alastair discussing fundamental attribution error, which is what’s stopping people from seeing reality for what it really is. He also talks about recruitment, and whether people see curiosity as an opportunity or as a threat. And why those that are threatened by change, don’t get curious, they just get angry. This is such a fascinating conversation with Alastair, we’re sure you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.


The Infinity Monkey Cage

Witty, irreverent look at the world through scientists’ eyes. With Brian Cox and Robin Ince.


THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OKRS AND STRATEGY

A client I worked with earlier this year asked me to come in and help them establish objectives and key results (OKRs) for the entire product development organization — nearly 1500 people. I was thrilled. This was an organization anchored for decades in output-focused management techniques. An influx of startups eroding their market share and a drive towards consolidation shocked them into thinking about new ways of working. They were still the market leader and wanted to stay that way.

Everyone needs more of this one skill

Change is constant, unpredictable, necessary, and extremely difficult all at once. For many people, constant change at work—ongoing transformation, different ways of working, demand for new skills—is a significant cause of chronic stress. According to the World Health Organization, even before COVID-19, the global stress epidemic was costing the world at least $1 trillion annually just in measurable areas like absenteeism, and likely much more in innovation and creativity—two of the very things humans need for the future of work.

Why Fitter People Drink More Alcohol

My second-favorite running T-shirt quote is usually attributed to the versatile New Zealander Rod Dixon, whose range stretched from an Olympic medal in the 1,500 meters to a New York City Marathon victory: “All I want to do,” he said, “is drink beer and train like an animal.” (My favorite is from Noureddine Morceli: “When I race, my mind is full of doubts. Who will finish second? Who will finish third?”) I don’t even like beer all that much, but there’s something appealing in the simple clarity of Dixon’s ambitions—something, it turns out, that seems to resonate with a lot of runners.


Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman

What if you stopped trying to do everything, so that you could finally get round to what counts?
We’re obsessed with our lengthening to-do lists, our overfilled inboxes, the struggle against distraction, and the sense that our attention spans are shrivelling. Still, we rarely make the connection between our daily struggles with time and the ultimate time management problem: the question of how best to use our ridiculously brief time on the planet, which amounts on average to about four thousand weeks. Four Thousand Weeks is an uplifting, engrossing and deeply realistic exploration of the challenge. Rejecting the futile modern obsession with ‘getting everything done,’ it introduces readers to tools for constructing a meaningful life by embracing rather than denying their limitations. And it shows how the unhelpful ways we’ve come to think about time aren’t inescapable, unchanging truths, but choices we’ve made, as individuals and as a society. Its many revelations will transform the reader’s worldview. Drawing on the insights of both ancient and contemporary philosophers, psychologists, and spiritual teachers, Oliver Burkeman sets out to realign our relationship with time – and in doing so, to liberate us from its tyranny.


The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni

In his classic book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni laid out a groundbreaking approach for tackling the perilous group behaviors that destroy teamwork. Here he turns his focus to the individual, revealing the three indispensable virtues of an ideal team player. In The Ideal Team Player, Lencioni tells the story of Jeff Shanley, a leader desperate to save his uncle’s company by restoring its cultural commitment to teamwork. Jeff must crack the code on the virtues that real team players possess, and then build a culture of hiring and development around those virtues. Beyond the fable, Lencioni presents a practical framework and actionable tools for identifying, hiring, and developing ideal team players.  Whether you’re a leader trying to create a culture around teamwork, a staffing professional looking to hire real team players, or a team player wanting to improve yourself, this book will prove to be as useful as it is compelling.


MEANINGFUL ACTION FOR MONDAY

Practice negotiation every day

Negotiation is a learned skill and gets better with practice. If you’re in sales or customer service and you’re constantly needing to negotiate, try to practice all the time.  Bring your negotiation skills into your everyday interactions.  Take conversations with your children.  Let’s face it – every interaction can feel like a negotiation but get good at saying, ‘Maybe if you do this first, then you can do that thing you want’.  Discussing options for holidays with your partner is another good opportunity. All the time, you’re building muscle memory so that when you’re under pressure, you don’t forget to do something important.


Upcoming Events

Scaling Up Made Simple Workshop, New Forest – 18th November

Conducted in The New Forest, away from the uproar of the everyday commercial world, the Scaling Up Made Simple Workshop is presented by Scaling Up Coach, Dominic Monkhouse to allow you the mental space to look at your business afresh – to recognise your strengths, your weaknesses and your opportunities. The workshop is your first step in the process of identifying and addressing the real challenges confronting your business. You will receive practical guidance in the essential skills that underpin manageable growth.


Quote of the week

“So many people are concerned about being socially conscious and environmentally aware, but they don’t give a second thought to how they treat the guy washing their car.”

Patrick Lencioni

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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