By Lara Morgan, Author Of 'More Balls Than Most'
I expected my senior team to treat others as they expected to be treated by me. For some the ‘shockingly’ open nature of our business took time to adapt to, but in the end they came to terms with it.
‘Buddy lunches’ were an example of such openness, and one you can put into practice easily. Get members of your team to have cross-over lunches on a regular basis with a member of the team whom they would normally barely be exposed to. The benefits run both ways, of course.
As a business leader you are likely to have loads of experience and knowledge you can share to the benefit of your team, and all it will cost you is time. Time spent in the short term will reap rewards from a better-educated and motivated group in the longer term. An example of this is learning how to read (that is, translate from legalese) a contract/brand licence translation/financial agreement.
I used to talk through contract points with the sales force on new licences so that they were under no illusions about the performance promises that we had made and the seriousness of the commitment that brands made to Pacific by licensing us. I saw this as a trust given which needed to be repaid.
You will need a clear strategy — one which is simply defined and understood by all from the outset of their employment — to get the team on board in the whole ambition of the company. It needs to be communicated over and over again. Like a sales request, you need to keep repeating the message — not once, not twice, but over and over again. So can all of your team answer these questions: What is the purpose of the business? How does it make money?
Another powerful tool which can aid company momentum and knowledge, and set a great foundation as a business accelerates growth, is the time dedicated to competitor study. I cannot believe how few people believe that competitor study adds value. Perhaps I see this too simply. My competition wanted a bigger piece of my cake and I wanted to know how they thought they were going to get it.
I wanted to beat them at everything they did; I wanted to be in growth markets before they were, to be recognised as the innovator and be more knowledgeable about the marketplace I competed in than they were. I never did much other than respect my competition and, with the exception of being sued by one of them in the USA, I was always open-minded about what I could learn from them in order to help Pacific’s better progression.
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