7 years ago this June I registered the company name The Value Innovator, a “me-only-business” set up to support SME’s with easy access to my leading company experience and best practice expertise on strategic and leadership challenge. Never did I think that Year 7 would be as challenging as Year 1, or the challenges so similar to those back then.
- No clients – following the social distancing announcement my diary emptied and my income stopped, and I find myself just as I was, back in 2013.
- Limited cash reserves – due to minimum salary and maximum dividends I have fallen through the cracks in receiving C-19 support, and I’m burning through the cash reserves in my business, just as I did my savings back in 2013.
- Deep dive – I repeated a self-audit in a climate of uncertainty, with some anxiety, whilst looking to the future with expectation and some excitement. Back in 2013 it was about paying the mortgage and feeding the children, today its more about staying healthy and staying relevant in an uncertain future.
Here are 7 transferable findings from my deep dive that give me cause to celebrate my 7th year as The Value Innovator.
- Enjoy what you do.
Identify your constant purpose and remind yourself of your (Simon Sinek) “WHY” every morning. It helps if you are called The Value Innovator as I have a constant reminder of my constant purpose, constantly which is “to add value to businesses and their people.”
- Value has a value only, if its value is valued.
34 years ago, a man called Bryan Dyson accepted the role of CEO at Coca Cola, and one of the first things he did was to share the following story with his employees.
“Imagine life is a game of juggling 5 balls in the air: Work, Family, Health, Friends and Spirit. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball, if you drop it, it will bounce back, but the other four balls are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably damaged in some way, cracked, scuffed, or even shattered. They will never be the same – understand that and strive for it.”
- Understand how others see your offer.
Sometimes what we think we are offering our “customers” is not what they perceive as our offering, and as that popular saying warns, “perception is fact”. Take time to review what your customers purchase from you. Since 2013 my assignments have fallen nicely under the broad labels of Strategy (55%) and Leadership (30%).
- Confirm your post covid-19 relevance.
Strategy doesn’t have to be complicated but it does have to be deliverable; AND irrespective of size, shape or sector the 3 most common challenges facing business Leaders are how to improve the performance of their people, the profitability of their products and the productivity of their processes, and that doesn’t have to be complicated either.
- Do not underestimate experience.
Many years ago Henry Ford was having a problem on his production line and unable to fix it internally he invited someone from outside who he thought might have the experience to be able to sort it out for him – that someone was a man called Nikola Tesla.
Nikola is said to have asked a few questions of those on the line, listened carefully to their answers and then marked the cause of the problem with an X in chalk on a wall of boiler plates. Everyone was happy and Henry asked Nikola to send him an invoice. When an invoice for $10,000 arrived Henry was a little surprised and asked Nikola to send him a breakdown of the costs. The breakdown duly followed detailing a $1 charge for marking the wall, and $9,999 for knowing where to put it.
- Identify the joy givers.
If you enjoy what you do, a large part of that enjoyment will come from the people you “do-it-with”, and those who make it possible for you to “do-what-you-do”. Take time to review who these people are in your life, and to say thank you for the joy. Over the last 7 years my assignments have come from old relationships 31%, new relationships 29%, and personal referrals 24% – Thank You Joy Givers!
And the 7th transferable finding is … Remember to Keep Calm and Celebrate Life!