On 2014

Ok, I know it’s only November, but I have been starting to reflect on the year that is nearly done and the year coming up.

 2013 has been an “interesting” year on a range of fronts for our business and also for me personally.  I have learned an incredible amount and our business has seen the benefits of some really solid planning and focus which is starting to deliver the results we are wanting.

 In the past 11 months, I have learned a hell of a lot about loyalty, honesty, integrity and working in good faith.  Unfortunately, a number of these lessons have been painful, personally hurtful and singularly unpleasant – but it’s what you learn from these experiences that will help you define more clearly what you really value and why you do what you do.

 The best bit though has been the development of our crew in the office – the way they have taken on new challenges and stepped up across a range of areas has been inspirational.  The spirit and ethos they bring to each other and their customers is absolutely inspiring and I feel a deep sense of pride in each of them for the way they are flourishing.

 But, what does this mean for next year?

 It’s a very good question and I have been pondering this in some detail for some time now. 

 We all know that the current economic environment isn’t great – especially for those in retail.  However, we have seen a couple of retailers with whom we work closely absolutely blossom in the past year.  Sales up, margins up and satisfaction way up.  This comes from focussing on what they need to be focussing on and implementing the changes that are demanded by their businesses.  We have proven yet again that a wonderful business is based, first and foremost on engaged and enthusiastic staff – all the businesses that are doing really well have a deep commitment to the development and inclusion of their people in their business.  This communication of the “why” is essential to enable the team to understand that the role they play is vital to the success of the business.

 The communication aspect of business is possibly the biggest area where we see huge opportunities for our customers (existing and new) in the coming year.  We have now developed a range of tools that we use to enable the communication strategies within a business to be addressed and significantly improved.  The Stages of Growth (Growth Curve Xray) and Trimetrix tools are absolutely wonderful and provide the platform for the “elephants in the room” to be put on the table in front of everyone and cut to bits.  Removing these “hidden agents” from a business creates a level of honesty, openness and engagement for everyone involved.  We are privileged to be part of this journey that the teams make as they suddenly realise that their assumptions about things might be somewhat misplaced!

 We have seen over the journey that people in businesses have their own perspective on things and, unless they are dealt with, these differences in perspective can actually poison and business and sabotage even the best efforts to improve things.  The best way to do this is to create the forum and use the tools to bring it all out and address it.  We had a wonderful result recently with one of our customer’s staff where two long-serving team members were basically having a passive-aggressive “war” with each other.  Using the Trimetrix tool as the basis for addressing the issue, we have delivered a change to team members involved such that the “war is now over” and they are working together in a far more harmonious and effective way.  This is transformational work and very satisfying.

 So, on to 2014.  The message will be one focussed around improving communication in businesses.  The process is challenging, rewarding and satisfying.  It creates a spirit within the business that enables people to flourish and develop which translates to better customer engagement and therefore better results.

 Results are just that – they come from focussed effort.  Where the effort is made in the right areas, the results will follow.  We’ve seen it happen so often and helped customers navigate this path so many times we know it works. 

 Communication.  That’s 2014.

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