2 ways (guaranteed) to dig your business out of a rut

Communication Skills Devon

I’m sure you know exactly what I mean by ‘business rut’.  We’ve probably all been there.  A fog has come down over your strategy.  You know something needs to change but you can’t see the wood for the trees.  The hamster wheel just keeps on turning and you want to get off?

“if you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”

So here are the 2 things that are guaranteed to re-energise, sharpen your focus and dig you out of your business rut.

1. Spend time with your Customers

Mix it up between customers who’ve bought from you previously as well as customers who are still in the buying process.  By making courtesy calls, or better still, inviting them for a coffee or bite to eat, you show that you care and want to understand what engaging with your business is really like from their perspective.  They will tell you things that you didn’t realise – we often get so close to our business that it’s difficult to be objective.

Ask for honest feedback on what improvements you could make in the business.  You will most definitely come out of the experience with new ideas and clarity on how the business can climb to greater heights.

2. Spend time with your Staff

Ok so you might think that you do this already, but I’m suggesting real quality time.  Invite your key team members for dinner one evening, or start the day with a team breakfast.  The key to making this time different to the normal time you spend together, is how open and honest you are.

My advice would be to share exactly how you feel – explain that things are just ticking along right now, and you feel as though the business might be in a rut.  But most importantly, explain that you need their help to identify key change initiatives.  You need them to share thoughts and ideas on how to accelerate business growth.  They’ll be sure to tell you about any systems and process that are less than perfect.  They’ll also have ideas on how to improve  customer service and engagement.  They might even have ideas for new products and services that they feel are in demand.

They’ll love your honesty and respect you for it.  You’ll gain their complete buy-in to the new plans that you make.  A stronger team will be born.

Best of luck…. Hope you found this useful.

Find out more about Business Coaching here.

8 Steps to Giving Feedback Like a Pro


Do you find it tough giving feedback?

Many business leaders shy away from giving feedback.  I guess they think that it could be a tricky conversation, or that the person won’t want to hear it.  But it’s a myth that feedback is a negative conversation.  Giving feedback on something which has gone really well is a great way to re-enforce what’s worked, so that it can be repeated.

Giving and receiving feedback is a very powerful tool in the workplace.  And employees can come away from the conversation feeling more empowered and enthused than ever, to do a great job for you and your business.  And if truth be known, most people just want to hear the truth.  They want their boss or colleagues to be 100% honest with them.  Let’s face it, hearing the truth is so much better than feeling like you’re being talked about in the board room, or that HR have your name written down on a naughty list somewhere.

Nobody comes to work to do a bad job.

Nobody comes to work to do a bad job – I’ve always believed this to be true.  And I’ve always believed most (a very high percentage) people’s intentions are good.  So knowing that staff want to hear the truth, and that they really do want to do the best job they can, means we just need to get really good at having conversations where quality feedback is given.

Your team will thank you for being good at giving feedback.

So here’s my checklist to help you plan your next ‘honest conversation’:-

  1. Make sure you are having the feedback conversation in an appropriate place.  This will depend on a few factors but getting the venue right, can make or break it.
  2. Be timely.  Don’t wait weeks to have the conversation.  Same day is best.
  3. Be factual.  Only base your feedback on your own observations (not those of others – that would be considered ‘hearsay’)
  4. Give examples.  Be precise about what you’ve observed.
  5. Explain the impact.  “I felt this way” “The customer found you to be..”
  6. It’s a two way conversation.  Ask for comments and discuss it openly.
  7. Make a plan for avoidance.  “Next time, I’d like you to…”
  8. Show appreciation (if applicable) for their professional approach to hearing something that they weren’t hoping to hear.

I hope this helps you on your way to being awesome at giving feedback.

I’d love to hear how it goes….

Maybe you could give me some feedback…. I’m always happy to listen to ideas on how I can improve.

Find out more about Momentum South West here.

6 ways to boost staff engagement…

Staff Engagement

Retaining staff who you’ve spent years training and investing in, is vital if you want to keep your recruitment costs down, as well as develop a business full of talented staff. Here’s a very brief run through of 6 ways to boost staff engagement, that every leader can achieve.

A recent Forbes survey suggests that only 30% of staff on average are truly engaged, meaning that 70% are not.  Those who are not engaged are undoubtedly the most likely to flap their wings and take off to pastures new, leaving you to cover the workload, interview, induct, pay recruitment costs, induct, train…. 

Here’s 6 ways to make sure your staff feel engaged, enthused and invested in:-

1. Transparent leadership

Be as open and honest as you can.  Share your vision and values.  Have well aligned messages across your management team, backed up with purposeful action.  Share progress.  Share success and give praise along the way. Tell your team ‘why’ you are so committed to the business and in turn they will engage with your dream.

2. Promote collaboration

Invite your employees to take part in activities that make them feel involved.  Run a workshop to build future plans.  Encourage talking rather than emailing.  Have a lunchtime discussion group and give the group important topics to feed back to you on.  Showcase the ideas that you take forward and use, so that motivation and participation remains high.

3. Give trust and ownership

Let go whenever possible.  After all, you’ve built a team of talented people, so let them use their talents.  Once you’ve given direction and knowledge, allow your people the freedom to shine.  Nobody comes to work to do a bad job.  If a mistake only happens once, it’s not really a mistake.


Coaching builds trust and staff engagement
Coaching builds trust and engagement

4. Make sure every staff member has coaching time

All business leaders are time poor, meaning that spending quality time with the troops is often pushed to the bottom of the list.  Even when a monthly 1:1 manages to stay in the diary, the agenda is often task focussed and not dedicated to helping the team member overcome their work challenges or achieve a particular goal they have.  A great coaching session results in solid action plans being built, as well as the right level of urgency and commitment to making things happen.

5. Ask for feedback

Whether it be a large-scale formal employee survey or just asking over a cup of coffee, your staff will really feel valued if you ask them how they think things are going, and what more could be done to improve things.  It shows you care and value their views.

6. Say Thank You

I don’t need to explain this one.  Say it.  Not too often, and not flippantly, but with sincerity. 

Thanks for reading.

Momentum South West support businesses in boosting staff engagement through various manager:staff touchpoints and through workshop facilitation to devise visions, values and strategies.

Get in touch at enquiries@momentumsouthwest.co.uk

3 Great reasons why you should embed a coaching culture in your business

Coaching Culture

According to Glassdoor research, company culture is the #1 factor leading to long-term job satisfaction, closely followed by the senior leadership.  You can read the full study here

A major influencer on how your employees perceive the culture and leadership style is whether they receive regular coaching.  A manager who engages with their team through task-focussed exchanges, is probably not skilled in coaching, and needs to be shown there is a much better way to lead their people to success.  A way that wins hearts, minds and staff buy-in.

Here are my top 3 reasons to adopt a coaching culture.

You will gain time in your diary (I’m sure this is welcome news)

Staff who are regularly coached, and encouraged to self-seek the answers to their questions, will rapidly grow in confidence.  Their ability to solve their own problems and overcome challenges in the workplace will mean there is less need to knock on your door – day-to-day operations are more likely to run smoothly when you’re out of the office too.  Just think…. your mobile will ring less on the weekend.

Staff engagement will grow
One of the most common coaching models, known as GROW, teaches the exploration of different paths to take in order to achieve goals or overcome challenges.  The coachee carefully assesses each path on it’s own merits before selecting the preferred route and committing the steps to success.  The process of doing this with their line manager, gives a great sense of ownership and accountability for the team member.  You’ve got to admit, this is much better than just being ‘told what to do’.

Results and productivity will improve

Coaching is always focussed on achievement of a goal or ambition, or overcoming obstacles and real-life challenges.  It could be anything from completing a board report on time, to growing productivity levels, to achieving 20% increase on last month’s sales results.  Either way, you are going to see an uplift on the way things are today.  Leaders who combine coaching in-the-moment with planned monthly 1:1 conversations based on development and achievement, will enjoy the greatest results.

So start investing time in coaching your people.  Not only will they love you for it, but you’ll gain time and results.  It’s a real WIN-WIN.

Momentum South West can tailor make a coaching programme to suit.  Call 07980 910316 to talk through your requirements.

We work with clients in Plymouth, Exeter, Torbay, Newton Abbot.  Plus we travel to Somerset and Cornwall.