Tips, News & Views / 118 posts found

The importance of having a priority system

by Iyas A
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A bad, or no, prioritisation system can kill your company. Having an effective way to prioritise is one of the best defences against shiny object syndrome (any other business founders suffer?), analysis paralysis, procrastination and untenable life balance. Reading is my personal killer. I’ve a ton of books, articles and blog posts that I want to read. Left without a system of some sort, I half or quarter-read 20 things at once. And worse, if I’m reading them because I want to do something as…

Numbers aren’t always the answer

by Iyas A
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My background is in data analysis, so I do and love numbers. I’m all for KPIs / MBOs / OKRs / BRBs / ROFLs etc. Except when they don’t work. Business leaders need to accept that there are many desirably outcomes for their companies and teams that can’t be easily measured. Leadership. Teamwork. Even customer satisfaction. We may come up with proxies for these. (In)Famously, Net Promotor Score for customer sat for example. But leaders would be wise to bear the following 3 things…

Supporting the next generation of female founders

by Iyas A
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Lovely to chat with Margaret-Ann Splawn today, sage and advisor on climate finance investment. One thing she raised that I hadn’t considered was how climate change will also exacerbate the gender divide. For instance, much of the work that is done in developing countries, such as walking to wells for water, is done by girls who will have further to go, and less schooling as a result. We also discussed gender imbalance in my old sector, tech and digital consulting. It’s depressing that…

Great People or Great Processes?

by Iyas A
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What should come first, great people or great processes? I enjoyed Sam Carpenter’s “Work the System” when I read it on first print. It was a clear guide to the importance and methods of getting processes in place for a small business. And many others have written about the same, equally convincingly. And so, when I work with organisations where the value they provide to their customers is based around their people (consultancies, law firms, accountants, dev companies, etc), I often…

Dissent in the board / leadership room

by Iyas A
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I’ve seen boards dominated by the founder, with dissent viewed as treachery. They lose the benefit of debate and alternative perspectives. It also means a number of people are paid as decision-shapers but don’t deliver that value. So it is also a waste of money. Those boards with one person making the decisions and controlling the conversation might as well be a board of one, with everyone else carrying out the leader’s instructions. Equally, I’ve seen boards where there is (sometimes) constructive…

Decisions – Delay some, speed others through

by Iyas A
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Being decisive is a values business asset, especially for leaders and founders of businesses. For good reason – indecisiveness can kill businesses, projects and sometimes people. It’s the topic of much research and writing. I’m currently enjoying “The Little Black Book of Decision Making: Making Complex Decisions with Confidence in a Fast-Moving World”, kindly gifted to me by its author Michael Nicholas. I can’t really add to that discourse. But there are 2 principles…

“Grow Grow Grow Sell” Isn’t the Only Path for your Company

by Iyas A
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It’s interesting talking to founders of companies about where they’d like their companies to get to. There seems to be an implicit assumption that it should be grow, grow, grow, sell. Probably a result of the insane valuations and exits of those Silicon Valley companies, small in number, but large in PR column inches. Pursuing something else is often taken as a lesser goal. But really, although exit is absolutely a valid outcome, it really isn’t the only one. Growing a company…

Does your team over-commit?

by Iyas A
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How often have you seen members of your team commit to something that they then don’t do? How often have you done it yourself? It’s not because *they* (ahem) are bad people, or even that they didn’t intend to do it. But simply that they’d only made only one commitment, rather than the 2 that are needed. Commitment to others and commitment to themselves. In the heat of a request, or a meeting with many eyes, or a boss (you?) who they want to please, what they do looks like commitment,…

The Pure Tosh of “You’re better off starting your own company”

by Iyas A
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“Start your own company. There’s no such thing as job security in companies today, so better be secure in your own business than insecure in someone else’s.” Advice I keep hearing, usually to lure people into some entrepreneurial coaching programme or another. Advice that’s pure horse-manure. The stats. Reported startup failure rates vary, but the FT has it at around 54% for UK startups within 3 years. The most recent stats I’ve found show that you have a 1 in…
Reducing Work Interruptions

Are your communications tools actually destroying value?

by Iyas A
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I love Slack. From a collaboration perspective, I wish it’d been around a long time ago. But it’s contributing to an environment where everyone believes they have the right to disturb everyone else’s work and expect immediate responses. To be fair, I’ve seen email used the same way, with senior managers especially guilty of expecting replies within minutes. If someone on your team is in a response role (e.g. contact centre or support team), then fair enough. But if you’ve…