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Business Development & Marketing General Interim Management & Executive Support Rescue, Restructuring & Recovery Turnaround

Where can a business leader turn for support?

It is, as we have said before, important that the owner/MD/CEO of a business is focused on strategy and leadership, but this can be a very lonely place.
There is also the danger of becoming isolated or out of touch if the position prevents people from offering ideas and input into strategy development.
So how can a business leader stay in touch and where can they find support?
The traditional way is to look outside a business for support; however there is another source that might be considered.
There is an inspirational example in Paul Walsh, the former CEO of the drinks company Diageo. He used to pretend that he was not the boss and ask other executives what decisions should be taken.
The purpose was to encourage them not only to have the confidence to speak up when necessary but also to question him when they had more knowledge than he did.
This is a great example of a business leader involving subordinates in strategy development. It achieves a number of key objectives for any company; it builds a sustainable long term business by accepting input from everyone; it develops managers and prepares them for leadership; it establishes a culture of valuing people and their role in shaping the future; and it ensures that a CEO/owner does not become isolated.
Please share other examples of best practice by leaders who have inspired you.

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Business Development & Marketing Finance General Turnaround

There should be clearly defined roles in businesses

Leadership is crucial to keep a business on track and should be the responsibility of the CEO or MD.
Too often, however, the lines become blurred, so that particularly in small businesses the MD becomes embroiled in issues that should be delegated to others.
Similarly, all too often line managers leave HR to do their job of managing employees, especially when it comes to dealing with performance related issues.
What causes this kind of behaviour? Is it an issue of trust, such that the leadership has insufficient confidence in line managers’ abilities to manage staff? Or do line managers lack confidence that they will be supported by their own managers?
This is often about fear. If line managers have insufficient knowledge of the limits and responsibilities of employment protection, and employee rights, or lack confidence in handling negotiation, or that their decisions will be supported, it is very tempting to leave it all to HR.
We would argue that no business can be successful unless it has a clear line of command, with roles and responsibilities clearly set out and a company handbook to guide everyone, managers and staff.
When a business becomes dysfunctional it is important to look at the management behaviour to establish whether the roles and responsibilities have become mixed up, leaving a beleaguered CEO to fire fight when they should be thinking ahead about strategy.

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Business Development & Marketing Cash Flow & Forecasting Finance General Rescue, Restructuring & Recovery Turnaround

Planning for the year ahead

SMEs often use new year as an opportunity to plan for the year ahead and might benefit from knowing about Rudyard Kipling’s six wise friends: Who, What, Where, Why, When and How.
But while it may be straightforward to answer What (the goals and targets), When (by what deadlines) and Where (what sector and what clients might be most productive) the Who, Why and How are more difficult.
Who: the allocation of tasks is critical for success, including leaving you time to spend on the non-daily activities. Do you have the right people in your organisation, do they have the skills, such as devising and carrying out the marketing strategy that will be needed to meet your goals?
How: are there alternative ways such as outsourcing activities?
Why: this essentially invites you to consider your business model that encompasses all the elements of your business. Is it viable? Do you have sufficient funds or the cash flow to support your plans? Does it generate sufficient profits to justify your effort?
Finally, are you as the owner spending enough time on strategy, finance, marketing planning and leadership as all too often these are neglected when you are busy with the daily operation?
When planning for the future, it is worth considering whether an outside expert might be able to help you, you might be surprised how valuable this can be and it doesn’t need to be expensive in terms of cash and time.
I wish you a very happy new year.