We all want to be better than we are...want to look better...have a better six-pack, thinner thighs...a smaller nose! We want to act differently...often like famous people who we see as cooler, funnier, cleverer, more successful than ourselves.
In business, you're positively encouraged to model yourself on someone who has been or who is, successful...to work out the way they do what they do, and copy it. Usually the chosen subject is Richard Branson, or occasionally...no...on reflection it's pretty much always Richard Branson. The thought of all of these people being successful in their quest is quite frightening!
When I worked corporately, I tried to model myself on a really good friend of mine. I was always really impressed by the way she could separate work from play...how she had two different personae...one for in work, and one for out of it...almost two different people, with contrasting personalities...and it worked for her. She was very successful.
I soon realised though that it didn't work for me. For better or worse, I needed to be the same me in work and out of it, it was just who I am.
And that's the key point for me really. It's all well and good to model someone...to watch them do what they do so skilfully, to break it down and look at it as a series of steps and individual actions...to make a process of their skill that you can copy to the point where you can mimic them perfectly.
But...the best way for you to do something will always be your way.
Take a look at how other people do things, yes. Pick out the best bits, certainly. But move away from 'the best way', 'the right way', 'the usual way'...and do things your way, in your own unique and inimitable style.
You are unique, and special, and people want to work with you, not some poor imitation of Richard Branson. As the great little book 'The Go Giver' would say, ' ‘No matter what your training, no matter what your skills, no matter what area you’re in, you are your most important commodity. The most valuable gift you have to offer is you.’
Being yourself - that passionate about what you do, great at what you do, authentic you - is the best sales tool you have. So if you're going to spend time modelling someone...model yourself. You may just find that your way is the best way after all.
For more information on how MPL can help you and your business please visit www.mariannepage.co.uk
I've always loved team sports, playing them, watching them, just love them. So with the Ashes in full swing, and the Premier League season about to kick off, it was no surprise that my thoughts turned again to the lessons sport has for business.
I think I may have been listening to the two new stars of football punditry, Gary and Jamie, when the talk turned to the need to have a strong spine in your team. They talk about this a lot in football. The idea is that if you have a strong spine...from goalkeeper, through centre back, centre midfield and up to your centre forward it will 1) strengthen the whole team, 2) give you the structure to build the creativity on, allowing your more creative players to 'do their thing', and 3) help you to deal with any problems that occur.
And it struck me that in business that strong spine is your process. Having a strong spine of logical, repeatable processes and procedures that everyone in your team follows, allows the whole team to be creative, to stamp their personality on your operation...within a structure. It also means that every team member knows what to do when problems arise...they trust in the system.
It's about being able to do things on auto pilot because you know the system, you've been drilled in it, you know that your team mates know it too, so you trust that they will be where they should be when you need them.
In a footballing sense, think Barcelona...possibly the best example in the footballing world of a well drilled team, with a strong spine, oozing creativity.
Of course who you have in each position in your business is still important, but it's the systems that run your business...your people run the systems. Or at least that's the ideal. It doesn't exist in every business or in every team.
Think back to Barcelona...their systems are drilled through every level of the club, so if you were to take a kid from the junior team and stick him in the first team, he would know exactly what he should be doing and where he should be, even if he didn't have the strength and the fitness to keep up. That's how it should and could be in business...your systems so well entrenched that you lose someone to holiday, sickness, maternity leave, and your well oiled machine just keeps on moving forward.
You don't need a chiropractor to fix your spine, but you do need to commit the time and money to develop efficient processes and procedures in every area of your business. The rewards are worth every second of the time you put into it. Just ask Gary and Jamie!
Click on this link to find out about systemising your business at our 2 day Systems4Scale Bootcamp.
This week I bought an A3 printer...it's a bit of a beast to be honest, but it gets rave reviews and I need it for my reports. So anyway, it arrived, I lifted it out of the box, removed the 30 ft of plastic, polystyrene and tape it was wrapped in and plugged it in.
I didn't expect any problems in connecting it...it was a wireless printer after all and they are easy as an easy thing to link up to your computer. Several hours later however, after much huffing and puffing, and cursing...and a couple of messages to Epson customer services about how their product doesn't work with a Mac...I was fit to be tied...and I still did not have a working printer.
At that point I decided I would have to resort to the instructions! Oh the shame! You see I don't like instructions - a bit of an admission for someone who waxes lyrical about how liberating processes are - I see instructions as cheating somehow...like others I know, I believe I should be able to work things out for myself without having someone else show me the easiest way...I'm a bright girl after all...what could be so difficult! It's a common problem.
But instructions are written for one reason only...to make a customer's life easier. A business will work out the most efficient process, will try and test the best way of setting up and using their product, and will then write out step by step instructions guiding us through the process...just to make our lives easier!
That's what processes do...make things easier...do this, then this, then this and you will achieve X result...follow these 5 simple steps, and you will achieve Y result. It's not rocket science...it's logical - tried and tested methods that have been fine-tuned over time by the feedback of those who use them.
Businesses who take the time to isolate all of the processes in their business
...who work out the most logical, efficient and repeatable way of working
...who document the procedures to be followed and involve their team (and customers) in fine-tuning them
...and who tie every thing back to the culture and values of their business
...make things easier for their people, their customers, their suppliers
And people who follow instructions get to have a working printer in less time than it takes to say: 'Physician heal thyself'! I'll remember that next time.
Follow the instructions for an easier life.
For information on how MPL can help you and your business visit www.mariannepage.co.uk or email us at email@example.com
I’ve been reading a book this week called ‘Built to sell’ by a guy called John Warrillow. So many business experts have been telling me either face to face, or in the pages of their books, that ‘you have to have an exit strategy’, that I thought I should look into it.
I have to be honest it was a bit of an alien concept to me...what? I was meant to lovingly build up my business, go through the challenges and the triumphs, make it a success...and then allow it to be swallowed up by some bigger fish, who wouldn’t love and care for it the way I did..?
Well, yes...that’s exactly what I must plan to do.
The truth is that even if you never want to sell your business, building it as if you might one day, will make it a more successful operation...for two reasons.
Firstly, it makes you think about your IP, your Intellectual Property, the X factor that makes you different from every other widget seller, estate agent, box maker, or whatever it is that you do.
It makes you examine what is it about the way that you do what you do...your special process, that makes you stand out for the crowd? Maybe you have a 5 step process for designing a brand, maybe you have developed the E.N.G.A.G.E system for employee engagement, perhaps you have invented the world’s first juicer that is actually powered by juice. Whatever it might be, you have your own IP...and it’s worth working out what it is.
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, your business can’t rely on you. It’s no use at all to a potential buyer if your business is only a success because you work 18 hours a day and look after all of your customers personally.
No. Like every successful business, you need logical repeatable systems running the business, and a team of great people running the systems. Every successful business is built on the foundation of Process plus People and it’s that foundation that will attract investment, and ultimately a buyer for your business.
Look at Tyrells in the news today, sold for £100m to Investcorp after only 11 years in existence. They have their own unique IP...
‘Tyrrells targets the premium end of the crisp market with “hand cooked” gourmet flavours such as sea salt and cider vinegar, honey roast ham and cranberry, and sour cream and roasted garlic. [ ] and is Europe’s only manufacturer of vegetable crisps’ Daily Telegraph
...and you can bet your life they have systems running the business and people running the systems.
£100m is a lot of money. Worth getting organised for..?
To find out how MPL can help you visit www.mariannepage.co.uk or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)