01/06/2011

Ready for Anything?

By Brian Chernett, Founder, The Academy For Chief Executives

For many of the people I’m talking to at present, April was not a good month. The extra Bank Holidays made it unusually quiet. The overriding impression is that the economy is currently in a state of stillness. Whatever the word coming out of Government, the Bank of England or sundry economic think tanks, business people are unsure which way things will go. The financial indicators are mixed. Statistics are being contradicted by actual performance in many cases.

Will there be a return to recession – the much-feared double dip? Will the recovery resume growth? I don’t pretend to know but I do have advice that has already worked for many businesses in the recession that may, or may not, have just passed. It is about being in a state of readiness so that you can react positively whatever the economy does. Whilst good for recessionary times, these attitudes and activities work whatever the state of the economy. Time spent in preparation is seldom wasted.

I have offered these ideas before. They are my ideas for success in the current economic uncertainty. If you believe the bad news we are hearing every day, then for you it will become real. Change your thoughts to believe that the future has massive opportunities and you will ACHIEVE them. The test of your leadership skill is your ability to take a positive attitude and your use of your creative and caring qualities.

So what are these ideas? My 20 actions to do today and repeat everyday -

- Only entertain positive thoughts

- Maintain an attitude that exudes enthusiasm all the time

- Know your financial numbers and be realistic about cash

- Do everything you know to preserve cash, clear old stock, collect debts faster and reduce your salary bill

- Increase your exports where the exchange rate works in your favour

- Creatively hold on to current customers by adding value

- Watch your competitors and be ready to take them over, merge or pick up the pieces

- Ensure all your staff are 10s. The market for new people will never be better

- Set up internal teams to create exciting new ideas

- Turn your fixed costs into variable costs

- Outsource wherever possible

- Consider licensing your product or service

- Be aware of your leadership style and ensure that it adds value

- Ignore social media and new technology at your peril like: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Ecademy, Cloud Technology and Website

- Coalition in the Boardroom

- Join an external learning group

- Get a Coach or Mentor for you and your Team

Those last three are particularly important.

Whatever the state of the political coalition in Westminster, the intention was that the governing parties would work together for the greater good of the country. My experience is that many Boards could also do with some of that selfless attitude. Instead of working in their own interests, as too many do, putting the good of the business first would improve performance for many businesses.

What Chief Executives and senior Board members often don’t know is which practical day to day approaches work for others in their role. Joining a group where other Chief Executives and Directors also contribute, can bridge that gap and provide valuable help, advice, insights and learning, to make a difference to the business.

Finally, coaching and mentoring are key to the personal and business development of individuals in high pressure roles. Finding a good mentor is important. They should be experienced and have been in the sort of high level role that you aspire to or already occupy. They should know when to coach, when to mentor and when to advise. Finding the right people, with the right chemistry, for your team is important to their development and to their ability to lead the business effectively.

In the positive frame that I advocate here, I’m waiting for the business growth to return, whilst knowing that my contribution to that is critical. Growth isn’t an external factor that someone else can do for you. Every business needs to make it their task to grow their own business and to partner with others for mutual growth. Growth is the sum of all of those businesses growing.

Have a successful June and may the second half of the year see stronger growth for us all.

Brian Chernett - brian@chiefexecutive.com - is the founder of The Academy for Chief Executives and Chairman of Academy Group ACE2. Having stepped down as Chief Executive of the Academy, Brian is now developing his own coaching and mentoring business – Wisdom Forums - for senior executives and building a new charity, The Ella Foundation, to coach and mentor Chief Executives in Charities and not for profit business.

Watch the video below featuring Brain Chernett, Founder of The Academy For Chief Executives, discussing three top tips for a sustainable growth in your business.

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