Archive for June, 2009

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When Can A “Board” Help…

Friday, 26 June 2009

Essentially business strategies and processes are ever-evolving,
constantly changing.  We really learn the art of “business” from
other business people, not from Accountants or Lawyers both of who
have specialised trades, and definitely not at a School.  Add into
this the fact that several “brains” sharing in an open honest –
unbiased way is also a very powerful tool and you start to
understand the power of a “Board”.

Boards can (initially) be one person (really a mentor) who helps
you with ideas and guidance.  They should grow with the business
into several people, often with complementary skills/experience.
Independence is a key factor.

They help “connect”, help guide (strategise), assist keep the
driver on track, and in times of troubles often step up and help
sort problems.

Advisory Boards are engaged in a more casual manner than formal
Boards.  Advisory Boards can meet independently (I’ve never liked
this model) or as a group – better ideas come from the dynamics of
a group.  Pay and their time commitments are balanced.  You get
what you pay for.  An ability to understand each other is a must
and I believe “experience in areas that help drive your business”
is essential.

Formal Boards have simular attributes, however they use appointed
(legally) Directors of the Company.  This adds the complexity of
governance.  Typically they steer the Company more strategically
and appoint the CEO, who they help keep “on track”.  I have a
formal board of “outside” (called non-executive) Directors.  I’ve
done this for a number of reasons including the ability for
MiniMovers to go on forever.

BOTH should have a “group” of reports (called Board Papers) that
the members get to consider before the meeting.

A common failure is lack of understanding of the “real aspects” of
the business, the critical drivers, influences, and issues.  The no
bull, no spin, all “dressing” removed – business.  There needs to
be a very detailed brief at the start of the relationship and very
open honesty.

Get it right and your business will fly.

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Leading And Planning

Friday, 12 June 2009

First of all the “owner” (driver) of the business will have a
personal goal – a reason to “own” the business.  The intensity of
the DESIRE to achieve this goal, will ultimately drive the business
and effectively set to “where” it grows.

This goal will not (obviously) suit the people in the business.  So
for the business, there needs to be different goals that the people
involved, can “connect” with .  These goals need to have WIIFM
(what’s in it for me).

When it comes to planning, if you are building a business that
needs a high upfront investment BEFORE any sales and/or profit,
and/or any borrowing is needed, THEN a full (MBA style) business
plan is in my opinion a MUST.

However if you are like most businesses (and all service
businesses) and you are going to grow FROM where you are currently
“at”, then I believe you only need a ONE PAGE business plan.  The
MAIN PURPOSE of this plan is to ensure YOUR PEOPLE are “on your
page”.  It also helps you focus as well.

A ONE PAGE plan should have;

1.     An Ultimate goal.  Where in your wildest dreams you would like
(the business) to be in 20 years time.  One sentence that paints a
picture of the goal is all that is needed.  You go WHERE YOU AIM,
and most people I meet only have “half” the desire needed, aside
from aiming TOO LOW.

Under this you may wish to add a few dot points on “strategies” to
achieve this.

2.    A 5 year goal.  This needs to set the picture of where (based on
facts) you’d like to be in 5 years.

Again a few dots points on “strategies” to achieve this will help
paint the picture.

3.    It should then say what you are going to achieve in the next 12
months, both in terms of financial numbers (or management KPI’s).

4.    THEN it should have a To-do list for the next 6 months.  Beyond
this things change, and you’ll be guessing.  Assuming things is
dangerous (actually it’s also simply silly).

The plan on the left hand bottom of  http://gazelles.com is also a
resource that leading edge people are now using.

One page plans, I believe are an essential tool to manage smaller
groups/teams.  I have one for “just” my Board and CEO.  It helps
this team understand what it is we are about and what we need to
do.  Maybe your business needs different plans for different teams.

A principle of leadership is to – paint the picture of “what it is
that needs to be achieved”, then “guide them up the road to get
there”.

Go forth and lead.

On a personal Note.  My role on the FairPay Commission is coming to
an end.  I’m looking for more Roles on Boards (formal or advisory)
and SPEAKING opportunities.  If you are aware of anything then
please message me through my website.

Thanks, MikeO