Next year I clock up 20 years of running my own business. If you would have told me then I would be here today, I’d be glad, but I wouldn’t believe the twists and turns I have had to take in 20 years to stay relevant and most importantly, stay open.
While they say the first five years is the toughest, anyone who knows business will agree that pretty much most years are tough. Leadership is demanding, managing people is constant, and changing market conditions always mean you have to stay ahead of the curve.
One thing I do see however, is a need for change in the way many of us communicate our strategy and purpose for our business. Post Royal Commission, the new world order will be transparency and clear lines of communication that own outcomes.
There is no changing what has been exposed, or delay the industry change that is already happening. But there is a need for business owners to have a clear short and long term strategy, and be able to communicate that strategy simply to all stakeholders - from staff, to clients, and suppliers and partners you work with.
Why is this so important? Because if people understand your strategy, and believe in your ability to execute it, they will have confidence in your business. It’s as simple as that. Unless of course, people don't believe in your strategy, in which case you have to find a way to repackage it so that people know WHY you are doing what you say.
There is a big difference between holding back key information from competitors, and being transparent as a leader as to where you intend to take your business, and how you want to interact with stakeholders around you.
For many years I worked on a project that involved talking to celebrities from all walks of life - on leadership, mistakes, learnings and outlook. What I always found interesting was how good these people were at communicating their key messages. Sure, some of them were seasoned talent like Michael Parkinson and Jeffery Archer, but no matter what their walk of life, they were able to communicate and story-tell in a compelling way - part of their success. You can see all these videos here.
We as an industry - advisers, fund managers and those who deal with the public - need to work on our communication skills. We need to articulate our strategy and purpose clearly, and most importantly, stay on message. Why? Because with trust at an all-time low, the ability to be honest, concise and authentic will be a skill that translates into business growth and success. Those who don’t will fall by the wayside and slowly fade out.
Later this week we will release an interview I did recently with Onevue CEO Connie Mackeage. She articulates her strategy for this business, No More Practice Education, plus her strategy for the entire Onevue business. I very much enjoyed it was she was articulate, authentic and very purpose driven. I suggest you watch it to see a great example of clear strategy and authentic voice to market.
Over the coming months I’ll be inviting other CEOS to also articulate their strategy moving forward in our Thought Leaders interview series.
If you haven’t had a look at how you articulate your business strategy lately, I suggest you take the time. Cross out a couple of hours in your diary and pull a new document together outlining it. Then discuss it with a key stakeholder in your world - a team member or trusted friend of the business. It’s time to start honing your communication skills and speaking to the greater community about how we all intend to add value to people post Royal Commission.
Until next time
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