What is Leadership?


Well I could give you the text book or theoretical definition but I won’t because you can carry out a Google search yourself I am sure!

My personal definition of Leadership is this:

“Leadership is the ability to think big, inspire others and work towards the big goal together”

I personally believe that no matter what your occupation you can be a leader; leadership comes from within. Many managers think they are leaders or think that they make great leaders. A good manager is not always a good leader. Look around you, look around your daily life as well as your workplace. Who has the qualities of a leader? Who has ideas, is passionate, determined and open to suggestions from everyone? Who is humble and gracious and caring? Who has the emotional intelligence to let the little things go and focus on the more important goal achieving factors? Who has the courage to build a mastermind group to share ideas and develop strategies?

In one of my previous jobs I was pretty rubbish at keeping a check on my teams uniforms, were they wearing their name badge? were they wearing work issued shorts? were they wearing the correct jacket? I couldn’t tell you as I can’t say it was that important to the end goal. We, the team, were trying to achieve a better workout environment for our members, we were working on improving procedures, customer service and programming so that our members had a great experience time after time. The question is, did our members notice that the jacket didn’t have the correct logo on it? did they care that Jane, who they had got to know personally, and not via her name badge, wasn’t wearing her name badge today? did they care? did they hell!

What the members cared about was the experience they received every time they came in, was the team acting professionally and with empathy? did the team make an effort to get to know the member and not just see them as a number or a dollar sign?  I think you get the gist. Of course it is important for the team to look professional and smart and be ambassadors of the brand, but there are more ways to do that than spend time chasing staff because they forgot their name badge today.

Perhaps I was in the wrong job, but one thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to make a difference, I wanted the team to feel empowered and connected, because I knew if  the team could achieve this then the rest would follow naturally and members would love coming back to the facility time after time.

Ask yourself today what could you do to be a better leader.

Planning & Strategy

The importance of planning and strategy

I have often heard managers say that a business plan or strategy is just a document that sits on the shelf getting dusty until its time for a review.

The truth is, that without a clear plan, whether it’s a strategic plan or an annual promotion plan, it becomes difficult to focus on the purpose of your day to day tasks and you can become lost in lots of “doing” but not much “achieving”.

Lack of planning can affect budgeting, project delivery, performance and employee morale.

“Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance”

That’s not to say  planning requires months and months of debate and content. Some plans can be displayed simply as a table or bullet points. The key element is that the team knows where they are heading, for what purpose and how their day-to-day actions contribute towards the direction.

Some believe that front line employees don’t care about the bigger picture. In some cases I’m sure that’s true, we have all come across those employees that want to get the job done as fast as possible with little thought so they can collect their salary and be done. However, even these employees may be shocked to realise that they play a role in contributing to the “vision”. It doesn’t matter if you are the cleaner or the business manager, everyone has a part to play.

Studies show that organisations who value employees by clearly communicating how each employee is  contributing to the “vision” have better rates of employee satisfaction and retention rates.

So, the question is how and when do we plan and what for?

There are a number of plans that a Business to Customer organisation/business should have in place and it will depend on the size of the business and it’s overall purpose.

Example for a large organisation may look something like:

  • Strategic Plan (Long Term Plans usually 10+yrs)
    • Capital Works Program
    • IT Development Plan
    • Long Term Financial Plan
    • Risk Management Plan
  • Development Plan (Medium Term Plans – derived from the Strategic Plan)
  • Service Area Plan (Short Term Plans – derived from Development Plan)
  • Unit Plan. This would contain the typical elements of a Business Plan fed from operational needs & the Service Area Plan. It would include items such as:
    • Marketing Plan
    • Improvement Plan (Projects to be achieved; both operational and building)
    • Budget/Finance
    • Training Plan
  • Individual Project Plan
  • Employee Task Plan

An example for a small business may look something like:

  • Long Term Business Plan (5yrs)
  • Annual Business Plan which will include:
    • Marketing plan
    • Budget
    • Key Objectives
  • Daily/Weekly/Monthly Action Plan

The types of plan that is relevant to you or your employees will vary. It is unlikely you will communicate a 50 page strategic plan to a customer service assistant, however, they will expect an employee task plan and perhaps the 5 core objectives of the organisation. The employees individual task plan will be a result of the operational needs plus the actions derived from the plans above it. Top Down, Bottom Up. The employee may not understand how they are contributing to the strategic vision, but they will understand how their role contributes to the team objectives.

For support with planning and how to turn those plans into real actions and tangible results don’t hesitate to contact me.