We’re Doomed…Doomed I tell you!

I had a long breakfast with a friend and Company Director this morning. Over the bacon and eggs we talked about some senior and unexpected departures from one of his competitors. He was identifying the opportunities these senior departures presented for his own company.

In short he categorised these as:

  • Available talent might be available and useful to his own comany (possibly on a consultancy basis)
  • The competitor’s clients might speculate that they might need to shop around for alternative suppliers (Just in case!)
  • Loss in staff morale and as a result loss of productivity
  • Gap in leadership until new leader can be appointed and begin to succeed
  • Possible further departures which could increase problems
  • Cost to competitor of rehiring and lead-in time for newe job holder

Too often, when senior management departs staff look to the future wondering if the business is doomed. (Even if the leader had been unpopular) and wonder if they should consider finding another job before it’s too late. My friend and I speculated that the benefits for my friend’s company could last between six and nine months and be worth many clients and an increase in sales income.

Bernard Matthews as an example
One only has to look at Bernard Matthews, the turkey company, to see how the loss of top people can benefit competitors. Last week the Chairman, Davis McCall, stepped down. Then the Chief Executive, Noel Bartram left and follows Rob Mears the Managing Director’s ealier departure.
The company employs 2200 people with a further 1000 staff in Germany and Hungary. In recent years Trading conditions have been poor for the company with bird flu and increase in costs. In addition staff morale has been hit and sales have slumped. Profits on a turnover of £341m amounted to just £2m.
With the departure of senior people it could be expected that morale and productivity will further be affected unless the latest appointment of David Joll (former CE) can secure a rumoured investment of between £20 and £30million. In which case he could end up as a hero.

A Strategy

My friend and I worked on plans until lunchtime on ways to manage possible, though unlikely, senior departures in his own company.

Stephen Harvard Davis

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Arrogance ends up being expensive!

Some months ago I was contacted by someone saying that a friend had given them my name and contact details and, after hearing all the positive things said about me, would love to meet me. Well what would you have done… Delighted, I said “of course”.

“Something’s come up…”

Meeting was a bit difficult as we lived over a three hour journey from each other and so a one hour SKYPE call was arranged. On the day scheduled for the call I received an email saying that “something had come up” and could we rearrange. Something coming up happens to the best people and naturally I agreed.

Second appointment
After I had juggled my diary a little bit we diarised a time for the second SKYPE appointment and another hour was set aside . Now, let’s agree that video conference meetings are appointments. Just that they are over the computer screen. Then a few hours before the time I received another email, “Sorry, I’m up to my eyes, can we reappoint. I’ll call you”

Would I be desperate to try to meet for a third time?
I was staggered by the arrogance that not once, but twice my time was seen as being unimportant, that her obvious inability to manage her time should inconvenience me and that I would be desperate to try a third time to meet with her! Since then I’ve received newsletters and various other updates about her business with offers to purchase products but no aplogy.

It ended very expensively
Yesterday I had a meeting in The City of London and her name came up in conversation. I related the story of the failed SKYPE Calls and within a flash, that even surprised me, her involvement in any future projects was rejected. It just shows that arrogant rudeness can end up being very expensive!

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Change that costs too much!

It never ceases to amaze me how often business change fails and how many change initiatives end up costing huge amounts on money in lost opportunities.

BETFAIR parts with Chief Executive
For intance yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph business section reported that BETFAIR has parted company with their Chief Executive just three months after the online trading platform had been launched. “In recent months analysts have questioned how successful the roll-out has been” of the LMAX platform and the shares have fallen 25% in less than six months.

Another example I observed last weeek was a sales team that had restructured to allow the team to concentrate on “High net worth clients”. Those clients not lucky enough to be categorised in the high net worth category would, in future, be dealt with from a call centre. Sales have subsequently fallen dramatically as the majority of sales came from small purchases. Now categorised as “insignificant” these customers reacted badly to being advised by people who did not have the experience to advise them properly. Result reduced sales and lost clients.

Executive Paralysis
Too often a contributory mistake is “Executive Paralysis” in identifying and accepting that initial thinking and planning could be flawed and to have a back-up plan. This rejection of potential failure creates a position that when fallback options are needed they are introduced with a sense of panic, adding more to the “costs of lost opportunity”

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Managing Office Politics and Conflict

Recently I’ve been asked “How do I cope with office politics” from a number of executives who are finding that arguments over strategy are becoming more common during the financial difficulties. They have been asking me for some tactics for managing conflict.

In this video I talk about some of the reasons that conflict occurs between colleagues and sobordinates and look at some of the tactics that cen be used to manage it. It’s a small, but essential, part of my executive mentoring programme and also a topic visited in my new conference keynote “You’re Here…But How To Get There?”

Surviving Office Politics + Conflict

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Displaying Personal Presence at networking events

Last week I attended a number networking events and was surprised at how badly some people use them to make contact with people. At one I was monopolised by someone desperate for an appointment to sell their product to me and was sticking to me like glue. After a boring fifteen minutes I managed to introduce him to someone that, on relection, I’m sure was a waiter and then I managed to move away.

At another meeting I met a very nice couple who subsequently told me that they wanted to meet me  again because I was “the only person that looked as if they were having fun”

A lot of my Senior Executive mentoring time is spent on creating “personal presence” and a personal brand image and this includes how to network.

The most common mistakes we talk about are:

  • Monopolising a single person (Between 5 and 10 minutes is generally enough before inviting someone else to join the conversation in order to to create a larger group)
  • Describing what you do and your benefits to a potential prospect in more than 21 words (rambling and ill constructed descriptions are boring and confusing. If it takes more than 15 seconds to say it’s time wasted)
  • Not acting as a host to the group (leading the group by initiating introductions, leading topics and making sure that everyone gets to say something)
  • Being too serious (only wanting to talk about business. Have fun and make sure others are having fun too)
  • Handing out business cards instead of collecting them
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Shocking news: Directors view business defferently to the hoi polloi

I was facinated by Management Today’s article: “Directors seem to have a very different view to the hoi polloi on how business is going… and that most senior executives feel secure in their current job and even if they were to be made redundant that finding a new job would be easy.

However, what caught my eye was almost the final line of the article that said, 74% of directors reported a strong collective sense of purpose, compared to a mere 47% of those below them. Not because I disbelieve the statistic but because, in my experience, almost all Directors feel a greater sense of purpose than subordinates.

Most subordinates, on the other hand, have to wade through encouraging and often meaningless “visions, goals and objectives” to determine what’s happening. This was reinforced by a friend who told me last week “There’s no point in being too upbeat and enthusiastic about the company’s prospects, it saves time, tears and disappointment in the long run!”

Perhaps it’s why so many Directors will sigh, run their brow and ask “Why is my team so difficult to motivate?”

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Your Invitation To The Executive Club

Most of my time, efforts and attention is taken up with working with restructured teams in larger companies and organisations.

However, so many smaller business owners and executives on my network list have contacted me for help that I want to make myself available to a select group of high quality business owners and senior executives  that I can mentor (all together) in a group consulting dynamic.

I’m proposing to identify a small group of high-performing, growth-minded, action-orientated small business owners and senior executives who ARE poised for AND deserve far greater success and prosperity. This invitation is for you to consider if joining this small group of dynamic individuals should be part of your business plan.

Once a month and every month for 12 months I would personally meet with what I’m calling the “Executive programme” – in London.

I will immerse myself, together with some selected experts and associates, in your key business issues, your challenges, your problems and (of course) your opportunities.

So what is the difference between this programme and others groups that hold similar meetings. The answer is the amount of individual attention your specific needs will be given. Together with the selected experts and associates  you’ll receive analysis, powerful recommendations and detailed implementation / execution recommendations – each month.

Your job and your commitment to us both, as well as everyone else in the group, is to ACT on the ideas, advice and guidance you receive from me, the associates, as well as all the other mentoring participants. You’ll report back on your results and we’ll work through them or build on them each session.

The problem (in the past) has been that this kind of exclusiveand private, “one-on-one” dynamic made no economic sense to either side. Private mentoring costs a significant amount per day.

Similarly for you to allocate the time each month that draws you away from work without having identifiable and tangible actions that produces measurable results is a waste of your time and investment.

But my thinking now is that the world of business is going through a revolution. Those that will survive and prosper are those that can identify, understand, map and manage their pathway to achieving extraordinary results. 

So instead of charging you a huge fee per day – I only want to charge a modest monthly tuition / mentoring fee from each participant of £1,200 plus VAT (minimum 10 months) or alternatively by paying a one time fee of £10,400 + VAT at the start of the period you can save a massive £4,000 over the year.

However, you need to consider this: If your business or career isn’t capable of ahuge increase in profile and income or it’s not desirable – you probably shouldn’t apply.

 I want to engineer the highest possible results for each business and person I accept onto the programme. I’m looking to increase your business brand, personal profile as well as earnings in those 12 months.

By giving the participants  access to the best people, information and tools – the results that each member in the group achieves should be extraordinary – maybe even outrageous.

So I invite those of you small enough to qualify – but big enough for it to make sense – to submit an original application in writing in your own words. Tell me about you, your business, your goals, hopes, dreams, frustrations, challenges, opportunities – and clearly demonstrate that you ARE serious about joining and that I should let you into this elite group.

I also request two references, who will verify and confirm your ethics, industriousness, directability, past performance / achievement history and desirability to be part of the group.

If you’d like to apply, get your application, along with references, to me by 26th November 2010 to stephen@assimilating-talent.com . That’s examine and choose the most desirable and motivated candidates to accept.

Applicants will be contacted before the second week of December with notification when I will arrange a 1:1 meeting or conference call to fill in further details and answer any questions.

If you ARE accepted the first meeting will occur on or around 14 January 2011.

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