I am a firm believer that everything in life and business is about people.
I would consider myself an experienced leader. My CV says that I have held MD, CEO and Head of Ops roles in companies around the world from the USA to China. I have worked with high growth businesses. I have worked with highly pressurised executives where trust and confidentiality are paramount, assisting them to understand their markets, accelerate growth and their ultimate exit strategy. So, I get business and business growth strategies. I understand how to optimise business performance by focusing on resources, investment, data, customer, and technology.
But it is not as straightforward as that. Every leader – however seasoned and however much they understand business performance, strategy planning and execution – will, at some point, look up and ask ‘what’s next? What does it take to drive my busines to the next level?’.
The answer is nearly always people… the team. The only way to be a truly successful leader is to not only understand the business drivers, but to understand the needs and motivation of your team. An honest leader might ask if they can do this as well as focusing on all the other pieces of the jigsaw. The answer is probably no, and the more honest the answer, the more emphatic the ‘no’!
There is also a view that there must be growing pains – that any organisation that wants to expand must go through a set of painful challenges that inevitably affect the people working in the business. As a leader I asked myself if this had to be the case and realised that it did not. I discovered that there were people who could help minimise or even remove growth pains in my organisation.
I was introduced to The Pioneers. I spoke with the founding team and recognised that they could become the extra manpower, brain power and creativity I needed to really create a brilliant business.
As I followed their progress, observing the work they were doing, I realised it was deeply insightful and valuable. It delivered significant value and impact. The Pioneers can deliver new ways of working with teams and approaches that support the leadership whilst that leadership retains their focus on business as usual. Perhaps more importantly I became convinced that the change and influence The Pioneers were developing in their clients’ teams was profound and deep rooted. Some clients say it was their secret sauce!
It is common for leaders to be scarred by their experiences with external help. Consultants who don’t understand the business or team and who believe that a suitable metric is the delivery of a thick report or strategy document. Consultants who rely on a cookie cutter approach to their clients and make little effort to dig into the nuances of each business or team. Consultants whose expensive work ends up gathering dust in a drawer.
I recognised that, in the Pioneers, I had found an organisation who prided themselves on delivering a positive and sustained impact. In fact, I found an organisation who measured themselves on providing value and measured themselves through their clients’ eyes.
So, although I was an interested spectator to begin with, I’m now delighted to become part of the team. I have the real pleasure of bringing my experience to their pioneering future! If you look up and truly believe that everything in life and business is about people, if you recognise that you could do with a hand or if you want to understand how to achieve growth without losing your focus on business as usual, please get in touch!