In this guest article by Jan Bowen-Nielsen we look at how a business coach can help you develop a successful growth strategy.
Are you seeing some great unfulfilled growth potential for your business, but struggling to realise it?
Is your team pulling in different directions and not prioritising their efforts well?
Are you yourself too involved in daily operational issues, fire-fighting, making decisions, solving problems etc.
Are staff lacking motivation and complaining about lack of purpose and direction from management?
Business owners and staff are often so preoccupied with the immediate issues that they lose sight of their ultimate goals and even lack clarity of what the business goals actually are!
A phrase often used is that the business leader is busy working IN the business, and not taking the time out to stand back and work ON the business.
Would you like help to work ON your business, to clarify your strategies and prepare your business for growth? This is where a business coach can be invaluable to help you and your team look at the bigger picture, structure your thinking and help create a clear vision, direction and strategy.
Why have a strategy?
All organisations and, critically, their staff need to understand their purpose, their destination and the course they’re taking to get there. Without a destination and focus in mind your staff will wander aimlessly from one activity to the other never knowing what to focus on or how to prioritise. The result: the business will not reach its potential and may ultimately flounder.
Providing a common purpose, goals and a set of actions to reach those goals ensures that everyone is working for the same outcome (your business’ success) and that time and resources are being allocated to the same goals and objectives. Put simply, it focuses your work and ensures every resource and minute you spend on the business is in the direction of your defined vision for the business.
The 7-step process
Our role as business coaches is not to develop your strategy for you, but to help you develop a strategy that you believe in. We will take responsibility for structuring the strategy development process, facilitating your thinking, challenging some of your assumptions and at the same time encouraging you to be ambitious. When we are working with a management team, the business coach will also bring out and bring together different thinking from the team members.
A typical approach will include:
- Analysing the external environment, the factors influencing the business and its markets now and in the future
- Evaluating the business’ capabilities
- Building a long-term compelling shared ambition for the business (sometimes called a vision)
- Developing a strategy for achieving the ambition (the journey)
- Developing a communication plan to engage staff
- Translating the strategy into day-to-day priorities, plans and activities
- Developing systems to evaluate progress and follow-through on decisions made
Once the strategy and plans are in place, the business coach is there to help the owner and management team to execute on the strategy. The coach can help them stand back on a regular basis and look at how well the business is progressing, challenge the team to be persistent and overcome obstacles to stay on course.
What we typically find as coaches is that as the results we envisioned together start to materialise in the strategy sessions, the owner and their team become more confident and emboldened – creating a positive momentum. This is also often the time that we as business coaches pull back to allow the team to drive the business towards its long-term vision.
So, what are the benefits of this process?
- The leadership team has a clear and shared vision for the business with a route map for getting there
- The shared ambition and plan is understood by all staff
- Everyone will be pulling in the same direction
- Each team member will understand how they can contribute to the success
- Staff will be more motivated, with a real sense of purpose
- It enables better prioritisation of efforts and reduces wasteful activities
- The plan enables forward planning and investment
- A clear vision often creates new business opportunities
- The clarity increases the likelihood of business success massively
Next article – dealing with growing pains
In my next article I will look at the other side of the growth coin! I will explore how a business coach can help when your business is growing rapidly and you are experiencing growth pains.
About Jan Bowen-Nielsen
Jan Bowen-Nielsen is the managing director of Quiver Management, a European Quality Award winning business coaching, leadership training and change consultancy business. Its team of 17 business coaches brings in-depth practical experience of running and supporting successful businesses, from start-ups to large multinationals, enabling business owners, senior managers and leadership teams to drive and manage growth. www.quivermanagement.com