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The Millennials Coach

HOW TO STOP GOAL SETTING FROM BECOMING YOUR BUSINESS OWN-GOAL

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So you’ve realised that vision, mission and values are important for your business and that it doesn’t require you to be a big corporate to get value in embedding these in your strategic planning. You’ve also realised that a written down, well thought through business plan will also help to keep you on track and also increase your chances of success.

But what does success actually look like to you?

Often, people will talk about having success and will not be able to clearly describe what this means to them. If you don’t know what ‘success’ will look like for you, how will you know if you have achieved it, or if you are way off-beam?

This is where great goal setting comes in!

As part of ‘The Micro-topics of a Business Christmas’ series, I am going to talk a little today about goals, but am going to conscious avoid writing another article about SMART (and all the variants in existence!) SMART is a topic that has been written about to death elsewhere and I believe there is much more to the setting of goals and objectives than this.

When approaching your business plan, it is important to give due time to goals and objectives as trying to tackle these will help you to gain clarity over the fundamental questions about your business, such as ‘Why are we in this?’ ‘What do we want to achieve from this?’ ‘What will the world be like once this product or service is out there?’ Getting a clear appreciation of what the possible future may look like is critical to any business: people enjoy a journey as much as a destination, and the establishment of specific goals that help to capture the essence of your vision, mission, and values is a powerful enabler for this to happen.

Here are some useful tips to consider when devising your business goals for 2018:

  1. Write a list of all the goals you want your business to achieve in the next 1, 3, 5 and 10 years.
  2. Chop out most of them and leave three goals for each of those milestones. The three for each should be the ones you consider the highest priority: if it is to make a profit of X by the end of year 1, state it! Only include the ones that you consider most critical.
  3. Allow your team to carry out steps 1 and 2 and see what they come up with. If they have been a part of your vision, mission, and values setting, you might find that they come up with similar goals. If they don’t, review whether their goals are actually of value to you – they may have come up with something you hadn’t considered.
  4. Link any team objectives and rewards to fulfilment of the goals – there needs to be a ‘golden thread’ running from the business goals to the goals set out for teams and individuals to ensure that they do not simply become another hollow mantra.

Finally, remember these key takeaways:

  • Any team or individual goals should be in alignment with the strategic business goals.
  • All goals should have a customer focus, otherwise they are simply outputs, rather than outcomes.
  • All goals should be complete (this is where I break my rule and remind you of SMART!)

All goals should be championed by all, at all levels. Review them regularly and ensure that progress towards achieving them is seen by everyone.
Now is a great time to review your business goals as you are in the run-up to the festive season; planning powerful goals now will enable your business to motor in 2018.

If you want support in planning your goals for 2018 and beyond, get in touch: sean@themillennialscoach.co.uk

Alternatively, use my goal checker – follow the link: https://actioncoach.pro/seanpurcell

The Millennials Coach

CREATE INTRAPRENEURS

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One of the ideas I truly believe in is that if you have a team of entrepreneurs in your team, you can move mountains.

Today’s article as part of ‘The Micro-topics of a Business Christmas’ is simple: ways to help turn your ‘employees’ into entrepreneurs, or more correctly ‘INTRApreneurs’.

Gone are the days where the term entrepreneur is reserved for the managing director or the founder of a company, and entrepreneurial capabilities should be fostered at all levels of a business. So what does ‘intrapreneur’ mean in reality?

A collaborative study between Future Workplace and Upwork found that 90 percent of professionals considered entrepreneurship as someone “who sees opportunities and pursues them” rather than “someone who starts a company.” (below linked article)

And what’s more:

“Fifty eight percent of millennials consider themselves entrepreneurs. This mindset is fostered at successful large companies.”

This does not mean intrapreneurship only works in large companies, I would argue that SMEs need to take advantage of the entrepreneurial capabilities of their teams even more than larger ones. You could link this to fostering a ‘start-up culture’ which is important to retain within a business no matter what size it is.

So… How do you go about establishing a culture of intrapreneurship for 2018?

Encourage innovation.

Effective encouragement comes from the simple mindset change that failing isn’t bad! In fact, failing needs to be looked at positively when it comes to innovation; we’re one step closer to taking things to the next level.

Encourage your team to take (calculated) risks and try things. Sure, they may go wrong and if they do it will be a learning point; however, what will your business look like if the calculated risk works…?

In previous articles, I have written about your vision, mission, values and business plan – go back to the statements you have or are drafting (because you are actually taking action after reading the articles, right?) and look at whether you make any reference to innovation, risk-taking and empowerment. If words like these are missing, include them as that will ensure that your people understand that you are taking this seriously. Once you have re-written your statements and plans with clear references you can then move to your processes for recruitment and retention. Hire people who demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit – if you couple this with a culture and rewards system that promotes and recognises innovation, this is a sure fire way of ensuring ideas are bouncing off the walls of the office.

What this looks like within applicants is an interesting question (perhaps an article all by itself), but briefly we’re looking for questions that demonstrate a commitment to goal setting and achievement, creativity and a desire to flip the script.

Also, don’t forget that there’s nothing like some friendly competition!

If done correctly, competition within the office can be your best friend. This can be used to spur incentive and innovation within the workplace; whether working in small teams or individually, a competition to find a better way of doing something or a new product/service that is currently missing from your line up may well be your answer.

So, as you fast approach 2018 I’d encourage you to build a team of intrapreneurs and watch your business skyrocket.

Is that the goal?

Click HERE if it is!

The Millennials Coach

WOULD YOU NAVIGATE THE PEAK DISTRICT WITHOUT A MAP? THEN WHY IS IT OKAY TO NAVIGATE BUSINESS WITHOUT A PLAN?

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I promised that my daily articles would be short, so whilst I am tackling the topic that is business planning today, I intend to keep it brief. I could sit and tell you what a business plan is, I could tell you what a business plan should include, but I am going to focus instead on why business planning isn’t just for start-ups.

I recently read a report produced by Palo Alto that indicated that those businesses where leaders completed a business plan were nearly twice as likely to be successful in growing their businesses or obtaining capital. Now, before people say to me: ‘He worked for a business planning software company, of course the data would show that,’ I was intrigued to read further that they had the data checked for validity by the University of Oregon who confirmed that: ‘…planning with software is highly correlated with subsequent success…’

For me, what is interesting about this statement is the reference to business planning software. Why is this interesting to me?

When many entrepreneurs are required to complete a business plan, they will often type in to a search engine and look for a free template. Templates may be useful if you are simply wanting to put some words and numbers down to satisfy a stakeholder such as a bank manager. However, the completion of a generic template is not the basis of strategic planning, and also cannot be changed and tweaked when you want to test to see what would happen to your assumptions if your circumstances changed.

Great business planning, on intutitive software, with the support of a coach or mentor will reap rewards for a business owner: a better understanding of the market will inform how you want to shape your business in the future, and will help to drive decisions on operations, finance, and people. Investing in a great business plan can help both save you from costly mistakes, but also help you to maximise profit opportunities in the future. It is no surprise therefore, that the research suggests good business planning can give your business a better chance of success than poor/no business planning at all.

What does your current business plan look like?

If you have answered this question with ‘I haven’t got one’, then that is a problem for you as you have no map to plot your journey on. You wouldn’t attempt to navigate the Peak District without a map; why would you attempt to navigate the world of business without a plan?

If you have answered this question with ‘I have one but it is out of date/unfit for purpose’, then you need to review it urgently. I would suggest to you that now is a good time before the new year (New Year, New Plan and all that!)

Don’t attempt to create a ‘free template’ business plan; it deserves more of your investment than that! Get a piece of software that can really help you create a powerful and profitable business plan, and get cracking with constructing the plan for your business to take you to 2018 and beyond.

If you need help with business planning, contact me today: sean@themillennialscoach.co.uk.

The Millennials Coach

IS KISSCHASE THE BEST GAME TO PLAY: OBJECTIONS AND REJECTIONS

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I have spent today in some fantastic sales training that really challenged me to think about the buying and selling process. During the day, the trainer tackled the topic of ‘objections’ including what they are, how to spot them, and how to tackle them; and it made me think more widely about both objections and rejections in our professional and personal lives.

Essentially an objection or a rejection can be put in to one of three categories:

  • I don’t like you
  • I don’t trust you
  • I don’t trust myself

No matter what an individual may say is their reason, the underlying issue can be put in to one of these three categories.

That potential customer who has told you that they need to go away and think about it before deciding? Likely to be for one of the three reasons.

That person you have been dating who has told you that they will call you and hasn’t? Likely to be for one of the three reasons.

You may be thinking: ‘Why is Sean telling us this? It already is frustrating that the customer has deferred the decision and now won’t meet with me again’ or ‘I already feel pain and stupidity for being vulnerable with someone who is now avoiding me.’ 

My trainer put it quite simply: Stop the Kisschase. Running after people in the vain hope that they will alter their behaviours through your persistence does not serve you. It depletes you of confidence and energy, and makes them anxious as they are trying to avoid having to face you and state the true, deep meaning for their behaviour.

So they don’t like you? There are plenty of other people that do connect/will connect with you.

So they don’t trust you? That’s their own issue to resolve.

So they don’t trust themselves? They need to understand what they are scared of being, or doing, or having by giving themselves self-trust. When they consider who do they may become by saying ‘yes’ to you may fill them with fear. Again, this is something that is not for you to try and fix for them.

If you know that in your personal or professional life that you have given your all, and you have made it really easy for someone to say ‘yes’, for them to fill their lives with possibility and positivity, and they choose to say ‘no’, then that is on them and not you.

Stop playing kisschase. Move on. There are people out there who need you in their lives so go and give them a reason to say yes and benefit from what you have to offer.

The Millennials Coach

HOW A STATEMENT OF BELIEFS SAYS SOMETHING ABOUT YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS

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Those who know me or who have heard me speak will know that I go on about the ‘heart and soul’ of a business, of a leader, and of a team. For me, before any of these three can progress to any sustained level of success and profit, they need to be clear about what they stand for, and what is important to them. Later articles will talk about critical concepts such as vision and mission, but for today I want to focus on VALUES.

Values and beliefs are the cornerstone of who we are, and by extension, what our business is. We can see our values through the choices we make as well as the choices we don’t make; the people we choose to spend our time with, and the ones we don’t; the activities we do in our spare time, and the ones that we cannot motivate ourselves to do.

For any leader or entrepreneur, having a deep understanding of who we are is essential to any personal or business planning process. Our work is an extension of who we are – if we don’t lead or run a business in alignment with our values, we will become detached and disappointed quickly.

I have often been asked to state my values, and when setting up my own business, I was clear that I didn’t simply want a list of words to try and capture what I believe to be true. As a consequence my business has a ‘Statement of Beliefs’ or ‘Creed’ which was formed even before I tackled such topics as vision, mission, strategy, or tactics.

‘We believe in the potential of the millennial generation to bring about radical transformation within themselves, their businesses, and the wider communities in which they live and work.

We are the champions of a new way of leading and believe that all millennials have the capacity and desire to make profound, long-lasting change from which all profit.

We believe that by harnessing the talent of the millennial generation, the world will become one that is dominated by positivity, gratitude, and creative action.

We believe challenge, accountability, and encouragement will create a generation of leaders and entrepreneurs who can navigate unchartered waters with passion and focus, and make a future that is better and more fulfilling for humanity than anything that has come before.’ 

The way I crafted this statement is as follows, and I share the system with you to use as a gift:

1) Go out for a long walk somewhere that gives you peace and tranquility. Remove yourself from social media or ‘contactability’. Experience the world around you: hear the sounds, smell the air, appreciate the colour around you.

2) Whilst out, consider what really gets you positively passionate, and jot it down (I use positive passion rather than negative as a Statement of Beliefs should be about potential, capacity and everything that is good and positive in life).

3) Consider why you feel that this is your mission – what is it about these beliefs that make you get up every morning and choose to live how you do? What is it about them that keeps you driven and motivated, in spite of the challenges and obstacles of everyday life?

4) Write three or four sentences that clearly describe what you believe – use ‘We believe’ or something similar for each.

5) DON’T PLAY SMALL. As it was once famously observed, your playing small in the world benefits no-one. Use big language, be bold, be ambitious – this is the centre of who you are and what you want to do.

6) Get it down on paper and share it. Tell others about it, write about it (I’d love to see your drafts in the comments box). How does it feel when you share and talk about it? If you get that warming, positive sensation that spreads to a smile on your face you are close to hitting on the essence of who you are. If it doesn’t…DON’T PANIC! Revisit it and pick through each word: are there words that don’t quite fit? If so, replace them!

7) Keep re-iterating your statement until you feel complete and excited.

8) Begin to use it as your compass for life and business: make choices based on it, enter in to collaborative relationships that align with it, allow it to become a clear part of who you are, a way of describing you to the world.

I’d love to hear your views – do you use a Statement of Beliefs? If so, how does it guide what you do? If you don’t, give it a try and use the comments on here to post your draft out to the world!

I’m really excited to hear from you on a topic that is so close to my heart.

Sean

The Millennials Coach

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW WHEN PLANNING FOR YOUR FIRST MAJOR LEADERSHIP ROLE

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If you are reading this and are about to make the move in to your first major leadership role, whether within your existing employer or somewhere new, exciting, and different…. CONGRATULATIONS!

How do you feel? Nervous? Apprehensive? Excited? Full of the energy you once had for your last job?

Your first significant leadership role is daunting. Full of ‘known unknowns’ and ‘unknown unknowns’ (to clumsily paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld), the role offers you the potential to really demonstrate the skills and attributes that you, and others have long believed you possess. Admit it – for some time, you have looked at leaders above you and thought: ‘I could do that’, ‘I could do that better’, ‘if I were in charge…

There’s nothing wrong with thinking those things at all, it is something that most workers experience; however, you are different to most – you have placed your head firmly above the parapet and chosen to assume that leadership role. That deserves credit and respect.

Nevertheless, credit and respect for accepting the job offer won’t get you through, and you know it.

Ever since you took the position you have written notes, created to-do lists, read a few articles on how to hit the ground running, and sought the opinions of others, but that internal interrogator is still posing questions that you seem unable to fully answer: ‘What do I do first?’ ‘Do I sell a big vision or start small?’ ‘How will I get them to listen?’, and most importantly if you have gained an internal promotion: ‘How do I get them to follow my lead and still like me, and invite me out to stuff?

Guess what? Leadership is tough.

Leadership is not straightforward.

Leadership often requires you think and act differently to how you behaved as a co-worker.

Leadership requires choices.

When you then reflect on the concept of the ‘honeymoon period’ as a leader, and consider the limited time frame in which your staff will give you an impartial and fair ‘go’ at the job, you really start to have concerns over whether you will succeed. This fear is further compounded if you have watched people enter your working environment as a ‘leader’ and fail to live up to expectations.

Pressure to have a good start to your new role is perfectly summed up by people who talk of ‘the first 100 days’ (or some variant). This term was originally coined within American politics and has been used to measure the success or failure of the start of every new Presidency. Just look at the succession of articles, videos, and blog posts that seek to judge whether President Trump had a successful 100 days; in fact, even he adopted this approach, publishing a list of actions he would take, and bills that would pass within 100 days of his assuming office. Having a 100-day plan gives the impression of clarity of thought, unity of the team, and speed of travel, which for a fixed term leader can help to ensure momentum and a control of the narrative. However, it does have risk attached – failing to meet the expectations set by the plan can lead to the impression of weakness, delay, and incompetence which can wound, if not fatally, a Presidency.

The concept of the ‘first 100 days’ has become popular within business for similar reasons as above. A new leader can draw a line under any previous ‘administration’ and set out their own direction of travel and way of doing business which, if in a role that requires the turnaround of a low morale, underperforming team, can help to bring a fizz that has been to now, missing. However, a 100-day programme needs to be well considered, well executed, and regularly monitored; I would argue that it should be more like 140 days, with 20 days either side: clear planning and the re-charge of your batteries before starting (pre-100 days), and evaluation and a ‘what next’ plan to help keep momentum (post-100 days).

The most effective leaders have recognised that they cannot do the PLAN-EXECUTE-EVALUATE process of a 140-day plan in isolation – a coach or mentor is of real value to help the new leader understand who they are, what they want to bring to the role, and what can be achieved/can’t be achieved. Too often, a new leader attempting to plan alone will be over-ambitious, and will also assume that the goodwill of their new team will last forever, and this causes trouble down the line. However, by having an external individual who can challenge and champion, a new leader is more likely to be able to demonstrate authenticity, articulate shared values, and infuse proposed actions in to an overarching vision of a future filled with possibilities for their team.

If you are about to embark on your new leadership challenge now is the right time to really understand how a 140-day plan can work for you.

Don’t allow yourself to think that a couple of ‘to-do’ actions and enthusiasm can get you to where you want to go. 

Think about what you would want your team to say about you, and what it was like to be in your team, when they come to speak at your leaving party.

Adopt the ‘fixed term’ mentality of American politics: recognise that you will not be the leader forever, and that you can make real impact quickly providing you PLAN PROPERLY, EXECUTE EFFECTIVELY, and EVALUATE THOROUGHLY.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, and any experiences you may have had as a new leader; you can engage with me on here, on twitter and facebook, or by emailing me: sean@themillennialscoach.co.uk

Good luck, and keep leading and learning!

Sean