How to improve your company culture to attract, and keep, the best employees

how to improve your company culture to foster a happier, more positive and productive workplace

Improving company culture is at the top of the agenda for most modern day businesses, as more employers are coming to appreciate the role it plays in attracting prospective employees.

However it is not as simple as placing a ping-pong table in the staff room; a company culture needs to be fostered over time. To foster a better culture businesses need to take a multifaceted approach that demonstrates genuine commitment to equality, transparency and valuing employees. (more…)

Transpersonal Leadership – Becoming the best leader you can be for the 21st Century

How to become a transpersonal leader

We call the best leaders for the 21st Century, Transpersonal Leaders. They lead beyond their ego, are radical, ethical and authentic whilst emotionally aware and caring, yet focused on performance enhancement and sustainability.

There are many differences between being a senior corporate executive of a large company and running your own small business (I know, I have done both) – but leadership is not one of them. (more…)

How to be a leader rather than a manager

The transition from being a manager to becoming business leader, is one that many new business owners will need to make. Often, the success or failure of your business depends on how well and how quickly you can adapt to this fundamental role change.

Never more so than in times of challenge, are leadership skills going to make the difference between a galvanized team of people and a disparate group. Here, Kate Tojeiro reveals 7 tips that will help you transform from a manager to a successful business leader; (more…)

What businesses can learn from the US Marines

US Marines Practice High Standards

The US Marines are world-famous for their exacting standards and ruthless efficiency. The conditions they operate under might be very different from those we see in the commercial world, but there are very valuable lessons that businesses can learn from the Marines.

Here, James Bowen and Brian MacNeice, authors of Powerhouse – Insider accounts into the world’s greatest high performance organisations – explain what your business can gain by studying the strategies and tactics of the US Marines. (more…)

Why every leader needs behavioural flexibility and how to achieve it

adapting leadership style to be a better leader

Leadership is one of the most written about topics in business. You can be an ‘Authentic Leader’, a ‘Facilitative Leader’ or an ‘Agile Leader’, to select words from just three of the recently published leadership titles.

These words fast risk becoming clichés. Some may have currency, others do not. What is true is that there is no one, indisputable, formula for effective leadership. (more…)

5 Business leadership tips for new business owners

business leadership tips

So you’ve decided to take the leap and start your own business. Does this mean that all the leadership stuff you learned about on your mini-MBA gets tossed out the window?

Ah, the joys of throwing away the corporate policies manual, the bliss of not worrying about reporting lines and organizational structures.

Well, yes and no. Leadership structures are there for a reason. They might look like it, but they’re not just there to keep people in jobs. (more…)

‘The ideal leader’ – Is there such a thing? What are the qualities of great leaders?

Leadership qualities - Sir Winston Churchill

Some people say that the ‘ideal leader’ is a myth. They argue that there are leaders that suit some situations but not others.

The notion of ‘good’ leadership is always relative to the need. There is no single ideal leader. Yet there is a common theme to good leadership: access to a particular set of energies and skill-sets.

None of us has all these naturally: becoming a leader means having to grow. But it means growing in a clear direction, acquiring certain qualities that we need but don’t have enough of.

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Building your influencing skills and mastering the art of persuasion

Start-ups and small businesses have to be prudent in their go-to-market activities. There isn’t the budget to splash out on extensive marketing campaigns, or the time for spray and pray customer targeting.

As a business owner, you are often the face of the business at every turn. Whether you’re dealing with customers, suppliers, partners or staff, what you do matters and sets the tone for your whole business.

How successful you are often comes down to how good you are at persuading and influencing people. With these skills being so important, we asked behaviour expert, Ally Yates, to outline how you can become more persuasive in business. (more…)

Becoming the type of leader people want to emulate and do business with

People learn through observing others – how they act, how they react, how they make others feel. They do it so they can work out how to be successful, or to survive. They do it so they can emulate them, or avoid their mistakes.

When we are leaders, it means they are observing us and making judgments about whether to be like us, or not.

As a business leader, your actions can have a profound effect on your business. Not only does it set the tone for your company culture but it shapes how you and your business are viewed by potential customers and partners.

You therefore need to ask yourself, ‘What can I do to be the kind of person that people want to emulate and do business with?’
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Purpose, values and goals: The 3 Key ingredients for a successful business

Purpose, values and goals

Striving to find a meaning in life is the most powerful driving force in humans. Acknowledging this as the key motivator for everyone involved in your business will help you to nurture the best achievements and results.

Neuroscientific research taking place around the world is beginning to piece together connections between the brain and behaviour, especially at work. This research is providing valuable insights into how to be a more effective leader. (more…)

7 Guiding Principles to growing your business

How to deliver sustained, profitable business growth

These 7 Guiding Principles to business growth have been developed through my 20 years of experience in working with thousands of organisations. Their purpose is to stimulate your thinking about the critical challenges and opportunities in growing your business and how you can avoid some of the errors that might otherwise stifle your growth potential or, worse, derail your ambitions.

As you read through these Seven Guiding Principles, score the current performance of your business against each on a scale of 1–10. How does your business shape up? (more…)

Why you must build on your strengths, NOT focus on trying to fix weaknesses

Positive Leader

Business owners and leaders looking to get the best out of themselves and their team will frequently spend a lot of time and effort searching for, and trying to improve on their weaknesses.

However, this is a completely counter-productive approach that can lower employee engagement and ultimately damage a business’ chance of success.

Here Jan Mühlfeit, Former Chairman of Microsoft Europe and author of The Positive Leader: How Energy and Happiness Fuel Top-Performing Teams explains why business leaders and owners need to stop focussing on fixing weaknesses; (more…)

Learning to lead your leaders

As a business owner, you’re also a business leader. And therefore, in order for your start-up to grow and develop beyond a one-man-band, there will come a time when you need to be able to lead other leaders within your business.

To do this successfully, you’ll need to develop a whole new set of skills and ways of operating because leading leaders is not simply a question of knowing what needs to be done and telling others to do it.

Instead, you will have to guide those leaders and inspire them to inspire their teams to deliver the results you need. When you can do that – you are a Super Leader.

To help you become a leader of leaders, in this article, Jean Gamester reveals 3 key steps, you’ll need to take; (more…)

How to lead inclusively

Your ability to be your most effective and successful is fueled by how inclusive you are as a leader in all aspects of your business – your supply chain, your workforce and how you take your products and services to market.

It’s likely that you have based your success to date on your intuitive grasp of key business issues, but if you rely on intuition alone, you could reach a plateau that will stunt your progress, and may well limit the level of creative and innovative thinking around you.

This isn’t a great recipe for sustainable business success, so here’s how you can avoid this stagnation and drive your business forward. (more…)

The 8 Acts all business owners and leaders need to master

So you’re in charge: perhaps you started the company, maybe you’ve taken it over, or you were handed the top job and told to run the show. What next?

Every company is different. But while scale of the demands placed on the chief executive of a listed multinational may be different to those a small business owner faces, many of the major challenges business leaders face are similar.

After discussing such challenges with a wide range of entrepreneurs, investors, executives and analysts, I suggest they boil down to eight essential “acts” of leadership. (more…)

6 common team challenges – How to overcome them and grow your team

As a business owner, you will no doubt, face some of the common team challenges experienced by many businesses today. When you do face these problems, you will need to know how to overcome them if you want your team to deliver.

We all know that dysfunctional teams are not successful. They will become de-motivated and in turn deliver poor results.

So, here’s how to take the pain out of meetings, handle tricky conversations and solve those perennial communication problems once and for all. (more…)

The 10 Commandments of Behaviour that every start-up should follow

Experience tells me that one of the reasons why people start up their own business is to be their “own boss”, and that means they don’t want to be constrained by petty, bureaucratic, small mindedness being meted out every minute of their working lives.

The reality is that we all need rules. In the words of Al Murray (“The Pub Landlord”) “Where would we be without rules? France!”

I am not going to inflict upon you here a doctrine of rule-bound obedience leading to business success, but rather propose a Ten Commandments of Behaviour which are intended as a benchmark against which to measure yourself.

You can use them when you feel that perhaps you’ve ‘missed the mark’ or, better still, use them today, right now, and see how a change in behaviour might benefit your business. So here are the 10 Commandments of Behaviour tablets, delivered to your door; (more…)

3 Ways to create a culture of learning, not blaming, in your business

Culture of learning Business of excellence

If you can create a culture of learning, not blaming, in your business, you are more likely to see your business grow and flourish.

If you allow a blame culture to take hold in a business, staff will tend to hide, or even cover up, any mistakes. This attitude can often compound problems further. On the other hand, a learning culture encourages errors to be highlighted so everybody can learn lessons from them.

To help explain the benefits a learning culture brings to your business, and how you can instil such behaviour in your team, we asked Justin Hughes, author of The Business of Excellence: Building high-performance teams and organisations to share his experiences and to explore a few of the key issues around a learning culture; (more…)

Why the best businesses start with a vision

If you were to survey a group of entrepreneurs about why they started their business, I’m sure you would get a huge variety of interesting answers. Of course many of them will have been motivated by money, but I would bet that one of the most popular reasons would be a desire to create something meaningful for themselves.

The prospect of taking control of your own destiny and being your own boss is a powerful motivator. I personally spent years as a Wall Street trader but found that the money I earned and lost just became numbers that had very little meaning to me.

Chasing money felt like an empty pursuit, and deep down I really wanted to start and run my own business, be the boss, and build stuff that I could actually point at. (more…)

5 steps to kick-starting growth in your business

You’ve established a company, it’s successful, and everything is running smoothly. Congratulations, that’s a fantastic feat. But…

… at some point every company will find that its growth has plateaued. Although things are stable, stimulating growth becomes an issue and the company isn’t climbing to the next level.

When this happens to you, do not panic, take these five steps and you’ll kick-start your business growth strategy.

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Respecting equality and diversity in leadership

In years gone by, equality and diversity haven’t always been at the forefront of business owners’ minds. However, in recent years more and more business leaders are recognising that respecting equality and diversity make good business sense.

So, what makes equality and diversity increasingly vital when you are setting up and running a business? We asked entrepreneur and author, Jackie Arnold to explain; (more…)

5 tips to help you make good decisions when you’re surrounded by uncertainty

Change is inevitable. And with change comes uncertainty. So, how can people in business, particularly those running a start-up or small business, which are often more sensitive to change, ensure they make the best decisions they can when so little is certain?

Here, John Reynard, author of ‘The Spiritual Route to Entrepreneurial Success” highlights 5 things you can do to help you make good decisions, even when there is confusion all around;

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Why the best leaders do less

Stop Doing Start Leading

How do you describe yourself? Are you an entrepreneur, a technical expert, someone who is good at a specific task or a manager? Or are you a leader?

Whether you describe yourself as a leader or not, the chances are that your business needs you to show leadership at every stage of its development. So how do you successfully lead your business?

Here’s why great leaders do less, and the 6 key steps you need to take to transform yourself into a brilliant business leader; (more…)

Leaders tell people what to do – don’t they?

As a leader, it’s your job to decide what kind of behaviour you would like in your organisation. But, how do you find your own style as a leader and set the tone for everybody who works with you?

Here, Kate Mercer, author of ‘A Buzz in the Building – how to build and lead a brilliant organisation’, looks at different styles of business leaders and explores the concept of partnership at work as a guiding principle…

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6 common leadership traps to avoid in your new business

As business owners we all make mistakes. It’s part and parcel of being an entrepreneur and taking risks.

Sometimes going wrong it’s part of the learning curve we all need to experience. However, there are some common pitfalls that catch many new business owners time and time again. They trip up the unwary, hold you back and stop your business from fulfilling its potential.

Knowing what these mistakes are will help you spot them before they ensnare you – saving you precious time, effort and money. Here, Shweta Jhajharia reveals the 6 leadership traps you need to avoid if you want your business to flourish.

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What do bagless vacuums, budget airlines and The Great Escape have in common?

Human history provides countless examples of leadership be it in the political, economic or military sphere. But no two leaders are alike and some leaders have left a far more distinctive mark on history than others.

To lead other people you need to be able to communicate clearly. Indeed, many successful leaders such as Winston Churchill have been able to inspire others through the power of the spoken word.

But inspiration also requires another ingredient besides communication. It requires a vision.

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How business owners can strengthen 5 key business skills with 1 simple activity

Most new businesses will fail within the first five years. If you are starting a business you have probably read this before. Do some research and you’ll find that poor management, inadequate funding, or failure to understand your customers tend to top the lists of why this is the case.

Continue researching and you’ll get much on how to make your business a success, with advice like write a business plan, conduct market research, and ensure you have enough capital before you begin, all good suggestions.

However, even the most innovative idea, followed by the most robust market research, accompanied by more than adequate funding can still fail. That’s because success is rarely the product of any single task or decision. (more…)

Developing your startup’s greatest asset – YOU

Launching a new business is a huge undertaking and, like most entrepreneurs, I am sure that you will give huge amounts of time to considering your product/service, funding and business plan, but there is one crucial component to business success that is often neglected – YOU!

We gather endless feedback on whether our new product idea will be popular, we jump through endless hoops with investors to secure funding, but for some reason we seem to forget that the single biggest variable that will determine whether we succeed, or not, is our own talents and how we apply them to our new business.

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How to develop successful business relationships

Organisations are collections of human beings and the success of our businesses are grounded in our relationships with each other and with our customers.

As business owners, we might have a great vision, incredible ambition, a clear sense of purpose and construct the best strategy in the world, but if we have poor quality relationships inside and outside the business, ultimately, we will probably fail.

With building strong relationships being central to achieving our business goals, Dr Alan Watkins, author of 4D Leadership, reveals how leaders can do this better; (more…)

The Founder’s dilemma – Managing the transformation from start-up to growth business

Business growth can be characterised in several ways – sales, profit, employees…. and looking to make the business scalable and capable of achieving sustainable profitable growth is a fully understandable objective.

However, whichever way you look at it, the underlying driver is likely to be that the founder wants to look beyond funding his or her lifestyle and start seeking value creation. (more…)