Many entrepreneurs look for external support to help them gain measurable commercial improvements in their business, for example to scale up, increase profitability, maximise shareholder value and so on.
Others are struggling with work / life balance or are feeling stressed out from running their business.
I’ve found over the years that whatever their requirements, prospective clients want to know "where I’m coming from” and what I believe in before sharing sensitive information. Fair enough.
I think the best way to do this is to explain my Purpose and Core Values.
My definition of "Purpose" in a business context is *why* does the business exist, other than the obvious, to make money.
There is ample evidence to show that “purpose-led” businesses consistently outperform “command and control” businesses. Entrepreneurs wishing to hire millennials or centennials had better understand this.
My own purpose is to empower entrepreneurs: I do this by bringing together rigorous coaching methodologies with decades of real world business experience. Two well-known business leaders, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, and Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft, speak to the value of business coaching here. My coaching style is to empathise with my clients while challenging them directly, an approach encapsulated in Kim Scott's book "Radical Candour".
My definition of Core Values in a business context is "a roadmap for behaviour". In other words how do you want to behave in your business to maximise your chances of success, and how do you want your managers and staff to behave when they're out of your sight?
Again, there’s ample evidence to show that businesses that invest time in articulating the behaviours they want to see in their people outperform those that don’t. Many entrepreneurs understand this as a concept, but sometimes what businesses do is create a list of words that look good - a tick box exercise. An extreme example is Enron, whose Core Values were Respect, Integrity, Communication and Excellence, but whose actual behaviour, set from the top, was to make as much money as possible without getting caught.
Undertaking Core Values work properly takes a serious investment of time and effort. Every entrepreneur understands “Return on Investment"; I believe an investment in articulating and embedding a business’s Core Values can be measured by "Return on Behaviour”. Here’s an excellent Harvard Business Review article on the subject.
My own Core Values are:
Excellence - being challenging, rigorous, knowledgeable, proactive and perceptive.
Care - being empathic, compassionate, helpful and, when appropriate, humorous.
Integrity - being honest, measured and authentic.
Take a look at the Praise page to see if I live up to these behaviours in reality.
Expressed as a formula, I believe that Purpose + Core Values = the “DNA” (or "Culture") of a business.
Of course it’s possible to make lots of money by ignoring this stuff. Good luck to you, but I doubt we’ll be able to work together successfully.
Are we a match?
Over the years I’ve found there are common beliefs of clients with whom I’ve had - and continue to have - the most mutually-rewarding working relationships. Are we a match?
Here they are, in no particular order:
Hunger to learn.
Ready for change.
Open to new ideas.
Enjoy being challenged.
Serious about their work.
Know that business is a marathon not a sprint.
Committed to continuous professional development.
Believe their life and business are their own responsibility.
Willingness to work on assignments between sessions (“homework”).