When Was The Last Time You Really Spoke To Your Stakeholders?

3/18/2016 posted in Business, Speakers, Marketing, Strategy

Sometimes when you think you are in a conversation with your clients, you really aren’t. We often ask our clients, “When did you last speak to your clients or key stakeholders outside of any project engagement or sales conversations – you know, just general business-as-usual conversations?” The answer is it rarely happens.

Every business needs a mechanism to speak to their key stakeholders on a regular basis. They also need to provide a channel where their clients can be brutally honest. There are times when no one likes to be on the receiving end of complete honesty; however, such frankness is where the opportunity sits for your business to improve.

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Help Your Employees Behave Like Owners and Generate Bottom Line Impact in 90 Days

3/11/2016 posted in Business, Speakers, Leading, Not Managing, Life At The Top, HR, Strategy

People are the only asset that walk out the door every night and consciously decide whether to return or not the next day. They decide each day whether to return in body only, or whether to show up fully engaged and productive. Scary stuff, considering how much you’ve invested in them! Lack of engagement is an increasingly epidemic challenge for business leaders at all levels, and the cost of an employee who’s simply going through the motions is one of the biggest hidden drains on profitability.

If you’ve been looking for strategies to create an engaged workforce beyond the usual teamwork, motivation, and perks/rewards approaches, you’re in the right place.

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What Really Makes an Inspiring Business Purpose?

2/26/2016 posted in Business, Speakers, Strategy

Successful businesses have a higher purpose, one that stretches and guides them through changing times; one that aligns and galvinises their culture, and keeps them striving for better.

Economist Milton Friedman famously said that “the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits”. Of course, value creation is an excellent measure of business effectiveness, although the moment of truth comes in how that value is shared between stakeholders. Does it all line the pockets of shareholders, or is it more evenly distributed between everyone inside and out, both financially and in terms of future investments?

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Why First Impressions Really Do Count for Your New Recruits

11/26/2015 posted in Business, Speakers, Leading, Not Managing, Getting Ahead, Recruitment, Employee Motivation

I’m sure we all have a story about that great candidate we hired who didn’t quite turn out as well as we’d hoped, or that great employee we hired who left after a few short months, however I wonder what the employee would say about their own experience?

"It was nothing like they described it would be in the interview" perhaps? Or how about - "the induction consisted of; here’s your desk and here’s your phone – get on with it"!

I used to give every candidate I placed my ‘First 100 Days in a New Job’ document to try and help them get off to the best possible start and reaffirm to their new employers that they’d made the right decision in hiring them, however I woke up one morning and realised that hiring managers and Directors are just as likely to mess things up as their new employees are!

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Is Your Competitive Advantage a Hit, Myth, or Somewhere in Between?

10/16/2015 posted in Business, Speakers, Sales, Strategy

A recent Vistage Open Day in Manchester proved thought provoking, invigorating and inspired some of us into action. 

Jaynie Smith opened her session by asking us to stand up when we heard one of our company’s competitive advantage statements, then listed the 10 most common responses given.

Almost universally, the top three were service, quality and reputation. Jaynie called the top 10 list “Blah Blah Blah”. She demonstrated this by sharing that when you Google “customer focused” there are over 77 million results; as we looked around, there was a dawning realisation of how ineffective most of us are currently at selling our relevant competitive advantages! 

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Marketing for CEOs and the 4 Not-so-Great Expectations!

7/31/2015 posted in Business, Speakers, Life At The Top, Being a new CEO, Marketing

It never ceases to surprise us when CEOs confide that they don’t have stellar expectations of what marketing can do for their business. “Sure it can make a difference”, they say, “A smart website and some nice newsletters”. All too rarely do we meet a CEO who tells us they expect their marketing to deliver truly transformational, high impact strategic results.

Many have a preconceived, purely tactical view of marketing. “We got last week’s receptionist to make a few changes to the website”. They don’t understand what strategic marketing is and so are unable to set the strategic tone for how they want their business strategy (for those which have one!) to be supported.

And by high impact strategic results - what do we mean? There are a few questions you should be asking of your business.

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5 Simple Steps to a Great Presentation

7/19/2015 posted in Vistage Open Days, Speakers, Getting Ahead, Employee Motivation, Negotiation

Giving a speech or conducting a presentation is hard for any person to do; you need to engage with your audience and make them forget that they are learning. Do not misunderstand; you should be aiming to teach the audience as much as possible, but in such a way that no one is bored, nobody should feel like getting up and pretending to have heard every word.

From the moment you walk onto the stage, until your closing remarks, you will need to retain the full attention of your audience, and this all begins with the opening. Each audience will be different, which will cause you to change your opening, in order to suit the people you are speaking in front of. You can start your presentation with a quote, story, or anything that you believe will get the audience’s full attention. You will need to know how to get their attention fast, and you will need to maintain their attention – fully. 

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8 Key Trends in Management Training That All MDs Should Know

4/25/2014 posted in Business, Speakers, Leading, Not Managing


I’ve been running courses for nearly 20 years, and I have identified some long term and some recent trends that are worth considering if you’re getting your people trained. I say IF, because amazingly there are many MDs and business owners that spend tens of thousands of pounds employing people and then they don’t give them any training in management, they just expect them to copy their boss, or make it up. Let’s assume you aren’t one of those!

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It's Time for Business Owners to Stop Feeling Guilty About Being a Good Parent

2/6/2014 posted in Speakers, Work/Life Balance Issues

A short while ago I was asked by the BBC to go on their World News Programme with Jon Sopel. Sigmar Gabriel, Vice Chancellor of Germany had announced that he was going to take half a day off a week to look after his 2 year old daughter. His reasons were that he wanted to “do normal things to experience what normal life was” and that his wife worked too so he was doing this to support her.

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10 Brilliantly Effective Time Management Tips for Busy MDs

1/29/2014 posted in Business, Speakers, Leading, Not Managing, Life At The Top, Time Management

The most successful business leaders seem to be able to achieve so much in the same amount of time as the rest of us. They are taking their company from strength to strength, somehow prepared for any twist of the unexpected. Year on year they deliver excellent strategic plans with the foresight (and courage!) to adjust their course of action in order to avert potential disasters. They always seem to be ahead of the game.

But, how do they do this?

– Simply put they have enough time to focus on the bigger picture.

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