“Always start with the end in mind” is one of the seven habits identified by Stephen Covey, Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Encapsulating and clarifying the three to five year goals for the individual and the business in absolutely key in the early stages when working with a new client. These goals may change but they will always be a reference point for the future as a measure of that change, both in terms of progress towards the goals but also to reflect on how the goals may have changed over time and if that is so, why.
Typically three clearly defined goals are useful, alongside a broader vision of what the business will look like when those goals are achieved and the personal impact for the individuals. We need to draw out what is really important to the individual as this will be a critical driver of success.
I have recently started working with Digitel, an innovative and forward thinking, full service digital marketing agency and pride themselves on providing the right digital solution to direct businesses or through agency partners under a white label offering. Their services include the development and optimisation of new and existing websites, SEO services, Paid marketing and social media. Working with some leading Gloucestershire and national businesses Digitel have produced websites, content and social media management for all of the major business sectors in the UK. Digitel pride themselves on delivering results to their clients through a no nonsense service that is transparent, jargon free and affordable.
One of the issues faced by Digitel, which is common in a rapidly growing new business, is the role and time commitments of the CEO. It is a conundrum for the CEO that the more people they employ the busier they seem to be. Often they started the business to exploit their own particular technical skills and experience, won the customers, built the relationships, solved the problems and delivered the solutions therefore, as a consequence, everything still reverts to the CEO.
We therefore spent some time looking at the structure of the business, the key areas of responsibility and the individual roles, to help them delegate tasks effectively to free up their time. Typically this structural review covers Operations and Innovation, Sales and Marketing, Finance, HR and IT. Often these departments are combined in smaller businesses and will be split out as the needs grow. It is key to start with defining the roles before considering which individuals may fill those roles. Then we can see which roles are filled already and where additional resources may be needed.
The next step was to switch to looking at the tasks being undertaken by the CEO on a daily basis and identifying where those tasks need to be delegated and what changes are required to make that happen. It is a mix of defining and communicating job roles, training and recruitment and so on. It may also involve simple practical issues such as desk space and where individuals sit. We can expect to have to change some existing habits too, of our people and also our customers.
Working with clients to impact business performance is always interesting, whatever the stage of their journey. Like anything new though, the first few meetings always have an extra tinge of excitement. As trust and confidence in the individuals and process builds and shared knowledge grows, then the challenges become easier to resolve, but we must always remain focused on the end game.
Will Abbott is a business improver and coach – contact Will on 01242 776000 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange to have a coffee and chat about your business.