Whether you are already a leader or aspiring to be one, the way you act, the decisions you make, as well as your actions all contribute to the impact you make on those around you.
The third and final PKF workshop brought our 2017 ‘leadership’ journey to an end and left us ready to continue our 2018 ‘contribute’ journey.
PKF Partner Andrew Beattie is a leader in our community and has shared with us his tips and strategies over the past year, and on Thursday April 12, Andrew once again reminded us we all have the same amount of time to get what we want done, we just need to cut the sh*t.
He set the scene by telling us a cautionary tale…that sometimes there are leaders who shouldn’t be leaders, and when you are a leader, you need to think about your team and your business from all points of view, not just the turnover you are making.
To be a great leader there are three key areas you need to master and they all go hand in hand: leading yourself, your team and your business.
Workshop One – Leading Yourself
Do you know who you are and why you do what you do? How would you describe yourself to others?
In this workshop Andrew dove into goal setting and taught us to narrow down our goals and really think about our priorities. He stressed the importance of having a balance in our lives and to phase out time wasters and our own procrastinations. Moreover, he made us consider our ‘why?’ and what we are willing to do to turn our aspirations into reality.
So, create that list or if you already have one, make sure you are measuring your progress (SMART goals). If you’re not meeting your goals, why? Is it time to revaluate?
Workshop Two – Leading Your Team
As a leader, do you put your needs aside for your team? Are you aware of what they need and show genuine interest in their lives?
To lead a team, you need to consider others and their motivations, communicate effectively and give feedback appropriately. To lead a team, like we learned in Workshop One, we need to know who we are ourselves and have the ability to reflect back upon things we do in the workplace. Did you handle yourself correctly when addressing a certain situation? Are there things you can improve on yourself that would ultimately benefit your team?
It is invaluable to everyone and anyone to constantly upskill, to continue learning and growing. Perhaps it’s attending a workshop, commencing more study or even reading more books.
As Andrew said, “Reflect from it, learn from it and apply it.”
Which bring us to:
Workshop Three – Leading Your Business
This workshop was the final piece in the puzzle and Andrew delivered it straight to us, neatly wrapped in a bow.
As a leader, you will dictate how the business grows and it is essential that you are aligned with the business’ vision, mission and values. You need to consider all aspects of the business; culture, strategy, staff, customers, finances and innovation to name a few.
Culture eats strategy for breakfast. It starts with the leaders.
If you get your people right, the customers will follow. What does this mean you ask? If you invest in your people, it will do you a world of wonders. Creating a culture that they want to be a part of, providing opportunities for growth (learning and development), having a mentorship program available and a set performance framework all contribute to the cultivation of your people, and what does this do for you in return? It produces happy and loyal employees who are proud of the business and brand, who promote your business with customer service skills through the roof. Win-win.
Nurture your people and they will take care of your clients.
You’ve nailed your culture and you take care of your people and they want to deliver the very best to your clients. But how?
Consider the following and whether you have them in place.
- Sales funnel
- Marketing plan
- Nurturing plan
- Account development plans
- After sales services
- Processes and systems
As a leader you need to have the right procedures and plans in place for your people, it’s no good to anyone if you are not properly delegating and keeping all your systems to yourself. Simple – train your people, document it, and evolve (yourself, the processes, your team and the business).
Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, but cash is king.
In a business, financially, there are seven key drivers of cash flow you, as a leader need to be across:
- Debtor Days
- Stock/WIP Days
- Creditor Days
- Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)
This one ties back into ensuring you have the systems and processes set up to ensure seamless transactions and money kept in the business, enabling you to make smarter, strategic business decisions and is the key to gaining (and keeping) the right clients.
Cash flow operates differently for every business, but there is one universal truth: you can’t manage what you can’t measure.
Remember Kodak? Why aren’t they Instagram?
Way back in 1888, Kodak was founded by George Eastman and Henry A.Strong, innovators ahead of their time, introducing the world to a whole new level of photographic film products, holding a dominant position throughout most of the 20th Century.
But, in January 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection and were yet to be heard of again until now (jokes, they’re still around and are now involved in the corporate digital imaging market – I guess better late than never?) Well not in their case! As Andrew brought to our attention, Kodak, had they kept evolving, could have easily transitioned into the digital era of the 90s had they kept up, but they didn’t change and consequently, they became irrelevant.
The moral of this story is that as a leader, you need to ensure your business remains constant and up-to-date. Ask your team to share their ideas, perhaps create a ‘Think Tank’ were they can email their ideas in and the one chosen is rewarded. There’s lots of ways you can inspire innovation within your team and for your business you just need to be open-minded and you will continually evolve.
Remember, effective leaders understand that their role is to bring out the best in others.
A special thanks to PKF and Andrew for this workshop series, we know that our leadership journey doesn’t end here.