Get Visual

As I take the journey through re-vamping my systems, webs, literature and first impressions to the customer I would like to share my thoughts on being visual.

Starting with your Unique vision

We get an idea for a business, we daydream, we make it happen but it mustn’t stop there. For the first time this year I did a vision board. I have been on quite a journey of learning and one of the key factors in my success so far has been understanding the law of attraction. Learning to take your focus off the negative aspects and turn my attention to what I desire in my personal and business life. Put simply if you focus on lack of customers or money guess what the law of attraction brings? Yep, you’ve got it, more of the same! So if we don’t develop our visions and adapt them how do we progress along our journey? My advice here is to start mapping out in your mind the long term strategy and vision, even visualise milestones, winning awards or contracts. What ever is significant in your business see it and sense it in your mind down to the last detail, what will you be wearing and who will be with you? When you start to see things in this much detail it is easier to become that person and achieve the right mindset. Mindset is another key element; for example if you want to be a million pound business you first need to become and make decisions as a million pound business owner, being able to actually see yourself already there will make the journey easier.

Moving this vision to your team.

When you tell your story to others they will engage with your story and relate to it, and the same is true in business. So what if we add powerful images to this story, how much more compelling does it become then? I recently met an artist who made me think, she had worked with a company on their core values. The staff had been allowed to create paintings of how they thought their values would look as images e.g. trust & integrity. These images have been put onto literature with the values and are carried around in handy sized credit card sized leaflets by all staff. Now employees can relate to their paintings and the values taking ownership of what they have created together. I loved this and think it is so important to use photos and images to capture the aspirations and goals of the company. Even more to get everyone from the bottom up to contribute and understand their part in the journey and ongoing story.

Explaining to your customers.

Nearly all business owners I have spoken to have said what a different using videos or re-branding their business with new graphics has made. We need to show our customers what we do not just tell them. Statistics show that we only have a limited number of seconds to make an impression so images really count. They don’t stop to read, may not feel like pressing play on that video today but they have already seen the image you put there. My journey is looking at images that portray what I do, which can sometimes be very technical. My aim is to show a solution to a customer problem in as little words as possible. This is not an easy job and I would recommend the help of an expert but I hope to share my ongoing story and show what a difference it can make.

Within the business structure

My business revolves around creating good business systems and adding value by giving structure and stability to the company growth. I love flowcharts, sad some may say but a great tool nonetheless. The use of images and diagrams for education and training has been proven so why not find something that gives instruction step by step. A flowchart also allows you to see who your internal customers and suppliers are to help you understand what and why you do what you do. Having critical success factors within these processes give clear measurables, enabling the team to instantly see where they are successful in delivering the needs of the next step in the process. A good idea is to also look at the risks associated with each process as well as understanding the overall business risks. That way the team fully understand the controls in place and the consequences of not adhering to the system.

I digress when I talk systems but flowcharts and process maps are my thing! Let’s also not forget about the power of using pictures to engage, learn and train. Graphics on why things matter, training simulation, video tutorials are crucial as we all learn in different ways. If you eliminate the visual, chances are you eliminate a proportion of your workforce that learn in that way. I prefer visual flowcharts but I do not eliminate detail altogether. When you hover over a step in one of my flowcharts there is a link to written work or form examples or check lists; it’s all about layers and those who need to dig deeper into detail can and will. Phonographics are another great tool as they show a number of complex steps in a simple visual form. i am looking at working in partnership with a new company and the first thing we are working on is an info-graphic to describe the benefit to the customer of our joint approach. Can’t wait to share this with you shortly.

A word of warning

What ever you do; do it consistently. Quality and consistency are key to growing your brand.

With your website is hard to find your space within the noise that is the internet. Good strategy, planning & persistence will get you there; being consistent with timing and content will raise your chances of staying there.

I am no expert but I know the feeling I get every time I decide to draw something or illustrate the subject matter; when eyes light up and they say “I get it now”.

I would love to hear your stories so do get in touch, it is great to bounce ideas from one another and see the innovation that comes out of these conversations.

 

 

 

 

Achieving work life balance needs a system!

You will often hear me talk now about creating harmony in the workplace, true harmony is when all of your processes interact with each other seamlessly to achieve a common goal. Sounds easy enough until you put people, external factors and risks/opportunities into the mix. So how am I helping with work life balance? I will enlighten you. To me ‘systems thinking’ is all about being able to understand the whole or the bigger picture. We need to put this deeper understanding into practice as we manage our day to day activities and changes that are occurring in our businesses. Do you feel that you have adequate time to do your job well and spend Quality time away from work? If the answer is no then Why? Maybe you are so consumed by what you do that the answer will not come without refocusing.

Some of us spend far too much time either fire fighting to survive or having conversations with ourselves over situations. Having precious little time and fighting the internal dialogues of our mind does not lead to us enjoying a healthy relationship with the business and a good work life balance. These are my tips to take you from surviving to thriving.

  • Take time out to relax and refocus, spend time on the business.
  • Look after you – if you are not in good health you won’t be in the right place to move forward.
  • Understand your business process, what is it that you exist to do?
  • Realise why systems are so important to creating sustainable growth.
  • Walk your process and start mapping out your business, design the way you want it to run and look like.
  • Implement systems that work for your business and your staff – involve everyone. (No forced templates)
  • Understand the risks and controls in your business, what is actually affecting your ability to deliver?
  • Prioritise – take things one step at a time – work on the things that are going to make the biggest impact to your customers and bottom line first.
  • Automate when you are able but only after you have defined the process first. For example your CRM system is not your process it is only a tool to help automate part of the Sales process.

If you need a gentle introduction to all of this then reach out and find out when the next seminar or workshop is being delivered.

Have a great day!

Food for thought over Christmas

On the run up to Christmas you will be seeing many articles on what changes you should be making for the New Year. “What will you be doing to make a difference in 2016”, they ask. They are many good ideas and areas to focus on to improve, but whether it is your numbers, marketing or operations your people will be the key to success.

Your focus on your staff as the core of the changes is fundamental to the success of the improvement. Yes you need to look at the impact of any changes you make to ensure you address all possible risks but the new thinking required by employees does not happen on it’s own.

Having a fantastic business process is very important and should be celebrated but put it into the wrong environment and culture and it will not become the norm. Ask yourself this question about procedures you have put in place in your organisation. Is there anyone that repeatedly tries to cut out certain things, bypass your system? Have you asked the question why? Did you encourage your front line staff to help you write the procedure so that you can understand what life is like there?

Over the coming month of January my blogs are going to explore this more as it links to a lot of the areas covered by the new ISO9001:2015 standard. I want companies to understand the difference between instigating change within their company and building in fundamental lasting changes that will have an impact on their business.

Below I share my tips on key things to think about to nurture your culture and prepare for the changes ahead in 2016, these are not in order of importance just food for thought over the Christmas period..

  • Processes and systems – Have systems that are well written and effective. if there is a problem focus on the system first not who to blame, blame cultures destroy innovations and improvement.

  • Leadership and vision –  Knowing the why behind your business enables you to engage people with your story. True followers of a leader want to be inspired and the art is to help them develop their own dreams for their lives both work and at home. Lead by example and adhere to your systems; otherwise how can you expect anyone else to value what you say if you are not committed yourself. Systems also allow you to add the degree of control needed and put the boundaries in place to enable you to lead and manage the business.

  • Listen – Listen to your customers, listen to your staff and all interested parties that may have a direct impact in you being able to fulfil your purpose for the business. Do you actually know what your customers perception of you is? What do your staff say about you and the company?

  • Knowledge – Build a knowledge hub, encourage the sharing of information to remove the knowledge is power culture. Understand and build on the competencies of your people, make sure it links to the risks affecting your business. Ensure that your staff have the right knowledge to do their jobs, the most willing individual cannot perform if they do not have access to the correct information this is my next point.

  • Fact based decision making – You’re probably collect a lot of data without even knowing it, or maybe you do but it’s not not in an easy format to report from. Take away assumptions and start basing your decisions and fact, know your numbers and analyse for your Key Performance indicators.

  • Be SMART with your actions – Always link objectives to your why and make sure they are SMART, clear actions are the only way to achieve what you want and enable others to help you get there.

  • Values – We all have values we hold with high importance, make sure this is reflected in your business and maintain that integrity. Define your values for others and recruit on this basis to maintain your culture. If you have someone poisoning the culture it is far better to lose them however much knowledge they hold. The most efficient working team environment is one that is happy, fulfilled and dedicated to it’s purpose.

The important thing to remember is the clear line of sight between your vision and why to all of the above. Make sure there is reason and understanding behind what you do and communicate this in a way that your staff can understand and delivery on..

To all my friends, colleagues and customers have a very merry Christmas and I hope all your dreams for 2016 come true.

Merry Christmas to all

Merry Christmas to all