Blog

Aug 10

“Do you have an exciting One Page Strategic Plan and engaged Senior Management Team (SMT) driving innovation for 2017?”

“I need to clone myself to get stuff done!!!” is a lament we often here.

Do you feel the same way?

Back in 2007 I took my CEO and CFO of Greencross Limited to a Verne Harnish seminar in Brisbane. I was the company chairman at the time. I had been using tools promoted by Verne for decades so wanted to expose my colleagues to his teachings. Here’s a brief summary of what we were exposed to.

“Do you have a Big Exciting Audacious Goal for your company?”

We wanted to grow to 10% of the veterinary market in Australia and New Zealand. It meant growing our turnover and profits by more than ten times!!! We did better than that.

“Do you have a passion and purpose that unites your team and focuses them on innovation?”

We wanted to provide the most professional veterinary care and advice for passionate pet owners.

“Do you have a great team meeting often enough to create a sense of urgency to implementing actions to improve the business?”

We created a Senior Management Team or executive group, met daily for 15 minutes to identify what’s happening for you, how are we going against our daily targets, and what roadblocks exist?

We referred folk to where they could get help, allocated resources to assist, and got actions happening to unblock solutions.

These meetings were no more than 15 minutes…debate solutions elsewhere. This is a SMT download on stuff to be done and where to go to get help.

Refer debate on process changes or new opportunities to the Weekly SMT Operational Meeting for detailed discussion and action planning where there is time to do so.

This meeting rhythm allowed us to improve communication between the SMT members and actually saved time for all team members. We set priorities for unsticking customer and team member concerns and created a more dynamic decision making process in the company.

SMT members then added daily stand up huddles with their direct reports and took the same lessons into their teams.

Front line team members in sales, admin or “job doing” in its many forms in different parts of the company then were listened to daily and got immediate encouragement to fix stuff instead of waiting weeks for it to go up to SMT meetings and struggling to get the go ahead.

We found the quality of debate around improving the company and developing smart strategies to deliver what customers really valued also improved.

It sure beats trying to run a company on your own and feeling you have to make all the decisions and do all the stuff that needs doing.

It engages and energises all your team members.

But it is not about simply delegating responsibilities…it is more about creating a faster pulsing communication process between front line team members and your SMT.

This approach allowed us to grow from a micro listed company to the top ASX 200 over 10 years.

We’ve taken the lessons from Greencross and all the other businesses we’ve been working with into our new “Leadership for Profitable Business” workshop.

Bring your senior team members and create a SMT to work on improving your business and finding you time.

Then set an appropriate “Pattern of Meetings” and meeting rhythm to get decisions happening much faster than before.

You’ll profit from this experience.

Aug 10

Do you have a succession solution?

Posted by Andrew Geddes at Thursday, August 10, 2017

Competitive pressure is definitely on the increase!!! If you are not innovating your product and service offering, you’re going backwards.

Trying to do this by yourself is a tough ask…you’re a busy business owner already!!!

We have assisted dozens of small businesses and professional service firms build Senior Management Teams to deliver improved product and service offerings in the last few years.

It’s simple…decide who you think will be able to come up with business improving ideas and start meeting for an hour every week and listing actions to be done by your team members.

Have daily stand up five minute chats with all customer facing team members and ask what’s happening both good and challenging.

Take this to your Senior Management Team and be the leader of the improvements that are needed.

To kick this off, bring your Senior Management Team to our “Leading Profitable Business” workshop in Auckland on Sept 26th. This could be the start of you creating a succession solution.

Feb 07

How do you create a business that can cope with change?

Posted by Andrew Geddes at Tuesday, February 07, 2017

How do you create a business that can cope with all the current changes going on?

The internet and consumer usage is driving changes in all industry sectors as new ways of meeting customer demand are created and service delivery is evaluated and comments posted daily!!!

Employees want different working conditions and engagement and meaning in their work.

Older business owners want a succession solution.

Competition keeps evolving new ways of delighting customers.

Governments keep changing their rules and red tape.

Nothing is constant…change is the new norm.

If you keep doing what you’ve always done in your business the way you’ve always done it, someone will invent a quicker, easier approach and steal your customers.

So you need to change your internal culture to one focused on innovation.

Have a daily 15 minute stand up huddle with your customer facing team members.

Ask them “What delighted a customer this week? How can we do more of that? What help do you need from me?”.

Ask them “What annoyed a customer this week? Why? How do we avoid that next time? What help do you need from me?”.

Then drive these insights into your weekly Senior Management Team operations meetings and constantly change your processes, services and products. Change your marketing communications?

Both the messages about the outcomes your customers like and the methods of communicating this.

This daily download with front line staff and creation of solutions with your SMT will drive innovation in your business.

Change will become exciting and not feared by your team members.

Then set a Big Exciting Audacious Goal with your SMT like dominating your market and creating the best product and service delivery in your industry sector within 5 years.

Clearly define and articulate your focus and purpose in terms of customer outcomes they want.

Set clearly understood core values that govern acceptable behaviour in your business.

Identify the three things your SMT have to nail this quarter (new digital eNews about customer outcomes they value; new point of sale stock management system; new added value service promise).

The set daily huddles with front line staff, weekly operation improvement meetings with your SMT, and monthly board review of implementation of the three things we must nail this quarter and make sure you drive these habits and communications consistently.

Then you’ll lead your business to new and better ways of pleasing your customers.

Watch our free seminar next Monday at 12 noon Brisbane time “What’s your plan for 2017?”.

Click here to register.

And bring your SMT to our next day workshop in Auckland on February 21st “Leadership for profitable business”.

Click here for a programme and to register.

Fond regards.

Andrew Geddes

6th February, 2017

Jan 18

“Do you have an exciting One Page Strategic Plan and engaged Senior Management Team (SMT) driving innovation for 2017?”

“I need to clone myself to get stuff done!!!” is a lament we often here.

Do you feel the same way?

Back in 2007 I took my CEO and CFO of Greencross Limited to a Verne Harnish seminar in Brisbane. I was the company chairman at the time. I had been using tools promoted by Verne for decades so wanted to expose my colleagues to his teachings. Here’s a brief summary of what we were exposed to.


“Do you have a Big Exciting Audacious Goal for your company?”

We wanted to grow to 10% of the veterinary market in Australia and New Zealand. It meant growing our turnover and profits by more than ten times!!! We did better than that.


“Do you have a passion and purpose that unites your team and focuses them on innovation?”

We wanted to provide the most professional veterinary care and advice for passionate pet owners.


“Do you have a great team meeting often enough to create a sense of urgency to implementing actions to improve the business?”

We created a Senior Management Team or executive group, met daily for 15 minutes to identify what’s happening for you, how are we going against our daily targets, and what roadblocks exist?

We referred folk to where they could get help, allocated resources to assist, and got actions happening to unblock solutions.

These meetings were no more than 15 minutes…debate solutions elsewhere. This is a SMT download on stuff to be done and where to go to get help.

Refer debate on process changes or new opportunities to the Weekly SMT Operational Meeting for detailed discussion and action planning where there is time to do so.

This meeting rhythm allowed us to improve communication between the SMT members and actually saved time for all team members. We set priorities for unsticking customer and team member concerns and created a more dynamic decision making process in the company.

SMT members then added daily stand up huddles with their direct reports and took the same lessons into their teams.

Front line team members in sales, admin or “job doing” in its many forms in different parts of the company then were listened to daily and got immediate encouragement to fix stuff instead of waiting weeks for it to go up to SMT meetings and struggling to get the go ahead.

We found the quality of debate around improving the company and developing smart strategies to deliver what customers really valued also improved.

It sure beats trying to run a company on your own and feeling you have to make all the decisions and do all the stuff that needs doing.

It engages and energises all your team members.

But it is not about simply delegating responsibilities…it is more about creating a faster pulsing communication process between front line team members and your SMT.

This approach allowed us to grow from a micro listed company to the top ASX 200 over 10 years.

We’ve taken the lessons from Greencross and all the other businesses we’ve been working with into our new “Leadership for Profitable Business” workshop.

The next one is scheduled for February 21st in Auckland.

It’s a one day learning experience…click here for a detailed programme and registration process.

Bring your senior team members and create a SMT to work on improving your business and finding you time.

Then set an appropriate “Pattern of Meetings” and meeting rhythm to get decisions happening much faster than before.

You’ll profit from this experience.

Cheers.

Andrew Geddes 17th January, 2017.

May 24

The accounting profession is being bombarded with advice about moving into “high margin” Business Advisory work.

Most of the people telling us this are trying to sell us software or business coaching advisory IP.

To assess this opportunity, let’s firstly ask what our customers need and want?

Individuals need help with minimising tax, creating wealth, and managing risk to their income streams and assets (protecting their families).

So traditional proactive compliance services (accounting and tax) plus financial services (wealth creation and protection via legal structure and insurances) deliver what individuals need/want.

SME’s need help with the above and the following…

                *improving profit and cash flow in their business

                *improving the value and saleability of their business

                *planning and managing their succession

To assist clients in these three things needs specialist knowledge and skills that comes from study and experience.

Not all accountants have this knowledge and experience.

However, specialists can be engaged  and  “project managed”  by accountants who have learned how to do so.

Functional areas like digital marketing and sales, stock control and logistics management, and information and communications technology come to mind.

The FMRC/Geddes approach has always been to formally Needs Review our clients using our one page questionnaire… then design the service offering for this client that will meet their goals and achieve their desired outcomes; scope the job for value delivered and production cost; then price it with the client.

Usually firm partners and senior advisors are involved in delivering these services. Less experienced team members can do some of the preparatory work and then sit in on meetings and learn. Being a “minute secretary” for a Business Advisory project is a great way to be involved.

Experience suggests doing a couple of Needs Review discussions initially then delivering on these projects. Momentum can then be built over time depending on your communication skills and the receptivity of your client base. Having a set of four BA service offerings described in language the SME clients understand helps tailor written proposals following Needs Review discussions. Eg.

Possible Business Advisory Service Offerings…

1. Your External Chief Financial Officer

Managing cash flow and profits is a challenge for most business people. 

We can help you…                                              

                *get your bookkeeping happening efficiently and easily via the cloud

                *support and train your accounting team

                *set cash flow and revenue budgets to monitor with you regularly

                *set actions to improve cash flow and profits

*build relationships with your funders and re-finance with the bank when needed

We become part of your management team and meet with you regularly (monthly or quarterly) to plan actions and monitor implementation.  It can be done for a fixed monthly fee once we have scoped the job and assessed the amount of work needed.

2. Your Strategic Advisory Board

What three things do you need to do better in your business in the next quarter?

We can help you…                                            

                *set your annual strategic business plan with detailed actions to be implemented

                *design financial and action reporting to assess progress regularly (weekly and monthly)

*be accountable to an advisory board (with external independent specialists if needed) 

Setting two or three quarterly improvement imperatives and managing them as projects can really make a difference to your business success.  And having a formal board to assist you ensures implementation and accountability!!!

3. Getting ready to sell your business

Making a business saleable involves improving lots of little things and making you (the owner) dispensable so it runs without you.

We can help you…

                *understand the value of your business now

                *identify actions to improve your business’ value over time

                *identify what to delegate and how to teach others to do it well

                *get a better sale price

                *plan how to invest the proceeds and minimise any taxes

This is a special project and needs to be run well. We will make sure this happens.

4. Planning and managing your business succession

Your retirement can be staged over a long time if necessary. You don’t have to sell your business if you don’t want to. You can involve family members or senior employees if you wish as well.

We can help you…                

*build a senior management team (SMT) so you can start handing over responsibilities in a      careful way

*grow new leaders in your business

*delegate successfully

*work towards your retirement in a planned way

*create an employee share participation scheme if you wish

Succession has many options. You can sell to a big corporate, to a competitor, to employees, to family members or simply put in professional managers and retain ownership. We can help you explore each option and select the one that is right for you.

We will work closely with you to help you set your goals and desired project outcomes.

We will scope the work and provide you with a fixed monthly fee where possible.

Then we will work with you to ensure all planned actions are implemented in a timely way.

Some firms have created a vast list of services in technical accounting language and simply listed this on their website. And asked clients to tick a box!!! This has not worked very well !!!!

The four Geddes Business Advisory service offerings are a natural progression from being an experienced compliance advisor.  You can subcontract specialised marketing and sales projects, ICT improvements or stock and logistics system developments. Sticking to your experience set and delivering actions with clients will build credibility and confidence. 

Making your  Business Advisory service offering project a success involves working through a series of steps…

1. Creating the service offering and resourcing the people to deliver (apps, skills, time)

2. Creating the Needs Review process (clients to be visited and conversation structure plan developed from your Needs Review questionnaire before each interview)

3. Website questions for the home page clicking to service descriptions (see above)

4. Website testimonials from clients

5. eNews articles/blogs on projects regularly as they are delivered

Creation of a Senior Management Team (SMT) to plan, implement and deliver the services to clients will often ensure its success.  Senior advisors will have to delegate existing duties to create capacity to be involved in the design and delivery of the new services.  Regular sales meetings reviewing Needs Reviews conducted, service offerings designed to achieve client goals and desired outcomes, proposals delivered and job scoping (timings, value delivered, production cost and prices) will build your team’s experience in this new offering.

It is not as easy as the spruikers make it out to be.

Remember, “Prior preparation and planning prevents p*** poor performance!!!!”

Contact us if you want to discuss any of these solutions.


Apr 07

Performance reviews, an old school idea that fails in the modern age

Posted by Andrew Geddes at Thursday, April 07, 2016

"Performance reviews an old-school idea that fails in the modern age”

That was the headline in the weekend Australian newspaper.

It seems the corporate world is finally catching up with what those in small businesses and professional firms have known for many years!!!

The article quotes: “Adobe estimated annual performance reviews were costing it 80,000 hours of management time” and “Deloitte’s research and costing suggested an annual appraisal for 65,000 staff took two million hours”. 

More importantly, interviews we have conducted with hundreds of team members over the last few years suggest they see annual performance interviews as exercises in form filling, demotivating and worthless.

“Why do you feel this way?” we asked every time. 

“No-one follows up on these discussions” was the answer 90% of the time. 

So what is the answer?

The article answers…

“To drive performance and engagement, organisations need to create a culture where feedback is given and received regularly.”

Bosses need to make time to have regular discussions with their direct reports who then need to do the same with their team members. This can be done via weekly job allocation and review discussions, daily stand up contacts and monthly profit centre reviews. Plus regular one-on-ones utilising set agenda related to team member’s jobs, attitudes, learnings and goals.

“There is an emerging trend in high-performing organisations where all employees, not just leaders, are being taught how to give great feedback and how to receive feedback with candour and grace.”

In the last months, we have run leadership days in-house for a number of firms, focusing on creating a self-sustaining feedback culture.

Email us for details on how you and your business can benefit from in-house leadership days, or register for our November 24/25 workshop  “Leadership for profitable business” where we teach these processes.

The leadership workshop and in-house days expand on topics covered in our free webinar series on building better businesses. Be sure to register for our next free webinar on May 10th where we will cover creating a digital marketing process that can be run by your support team.

Creating a senior management team (SMT) to build a succession solution involves all of the above. 

Good luck to you all.

Andrew Geddes,
5th April, 2016.  

Jan 29

The bottleneck is always at the top of the bottle!

Posted by Jeff Drum at Friday, January 29, 2016

There's an old adage that "the bottleneck is always at the top of the bottle".

This is especially true in business, where challenges within the company normally point to issues with, or among, the leaders.

The leaders are the Face and Pace of the company, so it is important to give them the tools that help them get clear on their personal goals; define their accountabilities, key performance indicators (KPIs) and outcomes; and define the processes that drive the company.

Join Andrew Geddes and Robert Drum on 2nd February at 3pm NZDT, in the first of their series of free quarterly webinars on transforming businesses and business leaders. This is an informative and entertaining webinar series that you will not want to miss.

Entitled "Building a Senior Management Team", the first webinar will address the issues faced by business owners when growing their business, including what to communicate to the leadership team & how; being prepared - having an agenda, using discussion papers and actions summaries and reports, budgets and results; selecting the right leaders and training them in areas such as financial management, setting strategies to improve business profitability, setting quarterly goals, defining roles and accountabilities and developing their leadership and inter-personal skills. Receive an invaluable checklist and walk through a detailed case study illustrating the process.

To attend the webinar please register here

*Andrew is the principal of Andrew Geddes Pty Ltd. He has run Management and Development workshops for business executives for 35 years. He has served on dozens of company boards as an independent director and chairman, including 9 years as chairman of Greencross Limited, a top 200 ASX company. Andrew is celebrated as a practical teacher by hundreds of successful business professionals, including architects, engineers and surveyors. 

In conjunction with Robert Drum of Enzo Advisors Ltd, Andrew can facilitate a strategic planning retreat, help plan your business succession and management transition, build a senior management team or improve your firm's governance with a review of your budgetary process and meeting content/rhythm. 

For more details on the next management workshop to be held by Andrew in conjunction with Enzo, click here.



Jan 18

Can your business run without you?

Posted by Robert Drum at Monday, January 18, 2016

Can your business run without you?

If the answer to this question is "Yes", it may be easily sold.

If the answer is "No", it may not!!!!

And your comfortable retirement may depend on that.

So here’s how to fix it…

  1. Record all your activities in a time log by the hour over a month.
  2. List the processes associated with each activity.
  3. List who else might be able to do these activities.
  4. Create a training programme and invite your team members to learn each activity from you.

Yes, we realise that only you can do these things as well as you do them.

But have faith in your team members and let them have a crack!!!

You might like to consider setting up a Senior Management Team (SMT) to work with you over the next 12 months running the business.

You could document a business improvement plan together including 3 strategic imperatives to improve the business.

Plus budgets…profit, cash flow and capital investment.

Then allocate functional responsibilities (financial reporting and banking, marketing and sales, HR, information and communication technologies…ICT, premises, service and product improvements).

Then meet monthly to review implementation of actions and financial performance.

Bring your SMT to our SME Leaders Forum in Japan in March (click here for details) or to our “Leadership for profitable business” workshop in Brisbane in November (click here for a brochure).

By the end of 2016, you may be dispensable!!!

And your business saleable!!!!

Happy new  year.

Andrew  Geddes  and  Robert Drum. 

Nov 13

Using the All Blacks successful methods in your business

Posted by Robert Drum at Friday, November 13, 2015

We're followers and users of the tools provided by Gazelles Corp and are subscribed to Gazelle CEO Verne Harnish's regular newsletters and in his latest one he published this article. Being New Zealanders and still basking in our Rugby World Cup success we thought we had better share!

The tricks and tactics of the All Blacks can lead to success whatever your chosen field*.

Overall, the All Blacks have a win rate of 76% over 100 years, making them most likely the most successful sporting team of all time across all codes.

However, things weren't looking so good after their early exit from the 2003 Rugby World Cup. By the start of 2004 some senior All Blacks were threatening to leave, discipline was drunk and disorderly and, to make things worse, the All Blacks were losing.

In response, a new management team under Graham Henry began to rebuild the team from the inside out. They wanted a fresh culture that placed emphasis on individual character and personal leadership. Their mantra? 'Better People Make Better All Blacks'. The result? An incredible win-rate of just over 86%, and two Rugby World Cup titles since then.

So how do the best get better?

Here's the 5 core values the All Blacks follow on and off the field:

1. Sweep the Sheds (humility)

Before leaving the dressing room at the end of the game, some of the most famous names in world rugby stop and tidy up after themselves. They literally and figuratively 'sweep the sheds' - an example of personal humility, a core All Blacks Value

Though it may seem strange for a team of imperious dominance, humility is core to their culture. The All Blacks believe that it is impossible to achieve stratospheric levels of success without having your feet planted firmly on the ground.

2. Follow the Spearhead (zero tolerance to poor attitude)

Also known as "No Dickheads", a term coined by the Sydney Swans.

Whanau means extended family and is symbolised by the spearhead. A spearhead has three tips but to be effective all its force must move in one direction, a value embraced by the All Blacks.

The All Blacks select on character as well as talent, which means some of New Zealand's most promising players never pull on the black jersey – considered "dickheads", their inclusion would be detrimental to the whanau.

3. Champions do extra (a focus on continual improvement)

The philosophy simply means finding incremental ways to do more – in the gym, on the field, or for the team. This was the mantra of former All Black Brad Thorn, one of the most successful All Blacks in rugby history.

A focus on continual improvement, the creation of a continual learning environment and a willingness to spill blood for the jersey was at the core of Graham Henry's All Black culture.

4. Keep a blue head (being grounded and focused under pressure)

'Red Head' is an unresourceful state in which you are off task, panicked and ineffective. 'Blue Head', on the other hand, is an optimal state in which you are on task and performing to your best ability.

The All Blacks use triggers to switch from Red to Blue. Richie McCaw stamps his feet, literally grounding himself, while Kieran Read stares at the farthest point of the stadium, searching for the bigger picture.

Using these triggers, the players aim to achieve clarity and accuracy, so they can perform under pressure.

5. Leave the Jersey in a better place

Long known to be an All Blacks saying, ‘leave the jersey in a better place’,  their task is to represent all those who have come before them – from George Nepia to Colin Meads, Michael Jones to Jonah Lomu, and all those who follow suit. An All Black is, by definition, a role model to schoolchildren across New Zealand.

Understanding this responsibility creates a compelling sense of higher purpose. It's a good lesson for us all - if we play a bigger game, we play a more effective game.

Better people make better All Blacks - but they also make better business owners, managers and employees. To learn how to apply these values to your business contact us.

*Taken from an article by James Kerr, published in 2013. To read the full article click here.

Oct 06

Trucking along, but watch out for bumps

Posted by Robert Drum at Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Trucking along, but watch out for bumps

Here's another commentary from the WIB IQ on the economic activity and business confidence in the quarter ended September 2015. Bolded sentences are us in agreement with the bank. Being Auckland centric we see 2016 activity here at least at current levels.

Economic activity has held up…

Business conditions have been resilient in recent months. In the September Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion, the proportion of business reporting that activity in their own firms has been growing increased slightly to 12%. In terms of quarterly GDP growth, today’s result adds to the upside risk to our 0.5% forecast for the September quarter.

…but there’s nervousness about where we are heading

However, businesses have become increasingly nervous about where the economy is heading. Business confidence fell sharply in the September quarter, with a net 9% of businesses now expecting conditions to weaken over the coming six months. That’s a much weaker result than last quarter when a small majority of business actually expected conditions to improve. However, while businesses are nervous about the economic outlook in general, they’re more upbeat about their own prospects.

The key question for the economy is whether activity will continue to hold up as we move into 2016. The economy is facing a challenging combination of conditions. On the downside, the global economy remains rocky, the Canterbury rebuild has leveled off, and there is the looming risk of drought. On the upside, we’re seeing continued strength in the housing and construction sectors, ongoing strength in migration, and a lower New Zealand dollar. On balance, we expect that we will see some softening in GDP growth over the coming year. But as indicated by today report, this is likely to be a slowdown – not a crash.

A soft, but nuanced inflation picture

The number of business that increased prices over the past three months dropped to its lowest level since 1999. The number of business planning on increasing prices over the coming months is also lingering at low levels. However, there are important differences across sectors. Manufacturers and retailers, who are likely to be heavily exposed to the drop in NZD, have highlighted increased cost pressures, and are looking to increase their prices as a result. However, domestically focused firms (such as those in the building and construction sectors) continue to point to limited pricing power. It’s all very consistent with a pick-up in the imported components of inflation over the coming months, while the domestic components of inflation remain soft.