Archive for February, 2019

Awards Baloney

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

We are in that self-congratulatory quarter of the year when the film and entertainment industry goes into overdrive. A time when award winners, particularly in Hollywood, have to “speak out” to protect others’ lives. When those watching know it is all an affectation to satisfy their own ego, career and global viewpoint, nothing more. Move on.

Disciplined Surprises

Monday, February 18th, 2019

How many unsolicited referrals or other surprises (invites to networking events, speaking opportunities, media/PR opportunities) have you received since New Year? Do you want or rather need more?

Ask yourself, when did you last meet or call the 25 best sources of new ideas for your business growth in the prior 3 years? I am not talking about email or reading and responding to posts on social media. I am referencing unfettered time spent together in a business or social setting. I bet for some reading this the response is weeks, months or even years.

Given the quantum of changes happening within your organisation and externally with your clients, is that wise? Make a note in your physical or electronic calendar, to call and set those meetings up at a rate of 10 calls per week.

My guess is that within the month of April, you will have more opportunities than the entirety of the first quarter of 2019.

We’re Putting The Band Back Together

Friday, February 15th, 2019

So you want to put your old team together, do a few gigs with past clients, get some bread? Bang! Five million bucks.

Here is the litmus test for those aspiring corporate executives and entrepreneurs seeking to “go again” in a new corporate or entrepreneurial venture, based on hundreds of situations I have been privy to:

  1. Do those market needs that were fundamental to our past success exist today? Can we anticipate market needs for our expertise resulting from impending changes in technology, regulation, demographics, distribution, capital flows and so on? Can we create new market needs for our expertise that our clients have not thought about before?
  2. Do we collectively possess superior capabilities to address those needs in today’s and tomorrow’s marketplace, not in a prior existence or environment? For example, in an electronic trading environment, a commodities or an insurance broker’s past competitive advantage – their interpersonal competencies (face-to-face negotiation) and “black book” of contacts – has been significantly eroded in this century. Equally, success in a large corporate setting is notoriously difficult to replicate in a small entrepreneurial business, irrespective of time (skills, behaviours, expertise).
  3. Do we possess the requisite enthusiasm today, and in future, to undertake the work? In other words, are we ignoring the fact that our colleagues aren’t the same people they used to be 3 or 30 years ago. We are constantly changing, as is our interests, courage and risk tolerance.

Only in the movies to paraphrase Elwood, are you not going to get caught out if you cannot sincerely answer “Yes” to all of the above unless you believe you are on a mission from God!

Be My Valentine

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

Do you know who, in a business setting, your prospective business partners are “sleeping with”? I include those that they have formal alliances with and those that they have informal ties to, and the obligations inherent in those relationships. I raise the point because often in an unstructured transactional setting with ultra high net worth individuals, a full or partial sale of a business or an asset may involve culturally diverse parties, an extended chain of communication and overt secrecy. Time is short and excitement rises fast, what is not said (taken on trust) or not researched may be more important to your future relationship (loss of power and control) than what is said.

Reciprocal Promises

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

“What was in it for you?” The reciprocal promise (future reward, referral, advice and so on) most people seeking “free help” in for-profit businesses rarely fulfil (no commitment, no urgency, no need), and those offering it, rarely hold them to account on. Sound painfully familiar?

The Next Big Thing

Monday, February 4th, 2019

In my business transition advisory work, I find 80% of entrepreneurs and executives in high-growth and mid-sized businesses very clear about the preferred outcome for the business, 50% very clear about the simplest path to it, 20% very clear about their own ideal future post-transition and less than 10% very clear on the optimum way to get “there”. Why? They’ve consciously or unconsciously ceded power and control to others, not prioritised themselves, or worse, they are in hiding behind a veil of procrastination. Have I hit on a very uncomfortable truth?

Pull up a chair, eliminate the distractions and let’s resolve now to clearly, and unambiguously, answer the three most important questions:

  1. What am I tremendously passionate about?
  2. What rare and powerful combination of skills, behaviours and expertise do I uniquely possess or could quickly develop?
  3. Where would the application of those talents have a transformational impact on the future of (enter organisation name), and its’ key constituents (enter clients, employees, investors, board members, business partners, suppliers names and so on)?

Armed with that level of clarity, what stops you setting aside time now in your diary to meet with those individuals? For many of my clients, it is really one of three reasons: you don’t trust your own judgement (“I am unfamiliar who’d have a need for me outside what I know”), you don’t see a need (“opportunities will come to me”), or you don’t see the urgency to do it (“I’ll get around to it once my immediate business goals are met”). Some site money as an excuse but that is very rarely the case unless you are broke.

The harsh truth is without the discipline, hard work and talent, to make it happen now, it will rarely lead to a desirable personal conclusion. You’ll end up forever circling half-explored opportunities, amid growing frustration of wanting to get “stuck into something”. When you do have the need post-transition, finding the “right opportunity” is incredibly difficult (your ideal relationships and interactions have changed markedly). Finally, you find perhaps for the first time, in the case of entrepreneurs, founders and executives on “exit”, you are beholden to others’ timing and priorities, which don’t align with your own.

Hiring qualified experts like me (depth and breadth of insight globally supported by a track record of success) can demonstrably help, strategically, where you are seeking validation of your own judgement, and tactically, pathways to ideal names, monthly accountability or creation of a post-transition structure “in waiting”. For example, the entrepreneur, who decides that he wants to invest in other entrepreneurs or the executive, who wants to work with private investors or philanthropic initiatives. However, it is really down to you and your desire to mitigate the risks of an unsatisfactory outcome.