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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants Catapults Business Profits

As Sir Isaac Newton said, ""If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants".

I met up with an ex-coachee over the weekend and what we discussed got me thinking about this quote.

As we talked I realised that his company still appeared to be run almost as a co-op. For instance, they still have no managing director and they share responsibility for decisions. Overall they were making money but really what they had was a job with the extra responsibility for finding work for themselves and their staff.

My ex-coachee recognised that his business needed to change but it was also apparent that his co-directors were quite comfortable with how things were going.

I'll Show Them Who's Boss

Gerry Robinson in the TV programme "I'll Show Them Who's Boss" came across a similar situation. In the programme he was sent in to help SMEs improve their business.

I remembered one episode where he dealt with 3 brothers who all had views as to how to run their business. On searching the Internet I discovered this review of the episode which describes the situation.

The review noted:

"It didn't take an experienced businessman - and Robinson has run Coca-Cola and media giant Granada - to recognise that the company was going down the drain unless one brother was put in sole charge. Trouble was, they only agreed to disagree."
Although the 3 directors in my ex-coachees company don't appear to be arguing at all, how can they have one clear view and leadership direction for their company?

Evidence of this is the fact that the company profit appears to have reached a plateau.

Now the reason that quote came to me was that I haven't discovered every single business wrinkle or copywriting nuance myself.

Yes, some I definitely have. But I've learnt a huge amount, simply by going into companies and finding out how they do what they do. Then improving it based on experience in other companies and from seminars, colleagues and other experts.

You Don't Know What You Don't Know

The main thing I've discovered is that you don't know what you don't know. I can go into company after company and inevitably I will find things I don't know. But equally I'm able to tell each company things they don't know.

That's true for every company, blue chip included, that I've been in.

To get to the next level companies must find out what they don't know. Then take action to implement, test it and modify it until it's working in their company.

How do they find out what they don't know...

There are two ways.

First, they can visit other companies, not just ones in their own sector, and see exactly how they operate. And no, an hour long visit is not enough.

Second, employ a coach because they've often dealt with many companies over multiple sectors and can give a different viewpoint. Don't use a coach who has only worked in one type of company - they'll give you the same advice all your market sector gets.

Which Is The BestWay To Improve Your Company?

It's horses for courses really.

The first way is for companies who are raking money in and can afford to have directors get out of the business for a good chunk of time. It pays back dividends but care needs to be taken to ensure that directors don't take their eye off the ball in their own company.

The second way is for companies who want to get to "standing on the shoulders of giants" by using a coaches experiences in life and business.

And of course as usual "action is they key".

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