Exponentials Downunder

Growing You & Your Business

Month: February 2016 (page 1 of 2)

Google’s Lessons in Building Great Teams

Notes this lengthy NY Times piece “In 2012, the company (Google) embarked on an initiative – code named Project Aristotle – to study hundreds of Google’s teams and figure out why some stumbled while others soared.

More specifically:

What interested the researchers most, however, was that teams that did well on one assignment usually did well on all the others. Conversely, teams that failed at one thing seemed to fail at everything. The researchers eventually concluded that what distinguished the ”good” teams from the dysfunctional groups was how teammates treated one another. The right norms, in other words, could raise a group’s collective intelligence, whereas the wrong norms could hobble a team, even if, individually, all the members were exceptionally bright.

So what are the right ways to act (norms?)?

Google discovered two specific attributes of teams that highly correlated to success or failure:

  1. Conversational turn-taking: ”As long as everyone got a chance to talk, the team did well, but if only one person or a small group spoke all the time, the collective intelligence declined.”
  2. Average social sensitivity: “a fancy way of saying they were skilled at intuiting how others felt based on their tone of voice, their expressions and other nonverbal cues.”

Together, these two factors provide what is called psychological safety – team members feel safe taking risks in expressing ideas and feelings.

How you create these factors is the bulk of the rest of the article.

If you only read one lengthy article this week – this is the one!!

You’ll pick up many fabulous jewels that will make teams more productive and effective.

Set your direction. Identify where you are at. Start your engines! email me.

Leaders are readers. Disrupters put their learning into action. email me.

Why I digitally disrupted my business over the holidays

It all started when I read over December “Exponential Organisations” by Salim IsmaExponential Organizationsil

I knew I’d gotten complacent about this. This book scared me silly!

Firstly, because it made sense – I’d seen this happening by reading www.springwise.com and www.trendwatchers.com for the last ten years.
I’ve seen so many new disruptive business case studies to know that whatever business you are in, you either have to disrupt yourself…or be disrupted, oftentimes by someone with little resources and little experience in your industry, but a technical advance helps them to find a niche that steals away your business right under your nose.

Secondly, because our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s first statement after being elected as prime minister that “Australians need to embrace disruption as our friend”

And thirdly, because the NSW government has been reviewing their take on Airbnb, Uber and Kickstarter.

Late January this year, they announced that they released a position paper, and that they would be moving to regulate these three operators. – They are letting them in!

I knew I had to disrupt my business.

This was no longer something I could put off.

This was now a priority and I had to act with speed.

How I disrupted my business

The hardest part was to make the decision to do it.

I then set out a plan.

I would research what was going on in my industry, particularly regarding new disruptive competitors.

I would analyse my business for areas that could be digitalised and make a plan for that.

I would then put my disruption plan into action.

Researching my disruptive competition

There were a number of new disruptive competitors out there, who’d emerged under the radar, including a fully automated coach. “A robot coach?!” Yes there are at least two of those out there in the marketplace. How come I’ve been ignoring this?!

I found a couple of people who were using this automated process and asked them enough questions to find out what this method’s strengths and weaknesses.

They even told me what my strength are – that is – one on one coaching to keep them accountable. The automated coaching didn’t do that well. – Phew!  Mental Note:  Great to get that feedback. I must be more open and transparent with my clients.  I must participate more online.

There was much to be done…and fast.

My second step was to analyse my business

I analysed every part of my business and clarified all the areas I could transform into a digital format.

This was a surprising and amazing process.

I could see how I could add enormous value to my business offering by digitalising as many processes as possible. It simply made my product better…and my many resources readily available to my clients.

Not only that, I could see how I could reduce my fee to nearly half of what I’ve been charging.

What I have achieved

I’ve got a sharper, more competitive product out in the marketplace.

I’ve reduced my fees by 45%, I’ve tripled the value I offer to my clients and I’ve addressed operational inefficiencies I’ve been putting off improving for years.

In short, I’ve achieved a lot in a short period of time.

What I have learned

It’s simple once you make the decision (like everything worth doing well)

The threats are already out there…and I need to stay alert (ignore disruption at your peril)

The best defence is active offence (thanks again Sun Tsu)

The changes I’ve been putting off for years were easy to make within the context of disruption.  I could no longer tolerate inefficiencies

I’ve made a start.  There’s much, much more to come.

Trust you find this useful

Let me know if you do something about it.

At least – the very least – read Exponential Organisations by Salim Ismail

Your Business Character

Old Chinese

There is an old Chinese saying that says the gem is not polished without rubbing  nor is a character formed without trials and challenges.

It’s like if you grow up in a greenhouse and  everything is perfect – then there’s no reason to grow.

You know, all progress comes at the point of resistance, the point of pain, the point of suffering and the point of where you are scared about what you are about to do.

Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and jump out into the unknown.  You know you are taking a chance, you know you don’t know what the outcome will be.

You know I’ve read a lot of business books.  And there’s a lot of people who think that in business, the more you learn, the more perfect your business is going to be.

That there is some kind of invulnerability to aspire to. That learning about business is about getting some kind of certainty about doing what you want to do.

Actually the opposite is true in reality. Business is all about imperfection. Business is all about being vulnerable.

It’s about jumping in, fully aware that you don’t know what the outcome is going to be, and doing it nonetheless.

CharacterIt’s about putting it all on the line with the full awareness that it might not turn out.  It’s about being totally vulnerable.  It’s really not for the faint-hearted.  It’s not for people who hold back from taking risks – It takes character.

(The Cambridge Dictionary defines character as: “the quality of being determined and able to deal with difficult situations eg: ‘She has such strength of character’“)

That’s what makes a successful business person.  Character.

The banks know it, other business owners know it and your team knows it when they see it.

The more character you develop, the more risks you take, the more you fail and the more willing you are to try something new.

This is what we are looking for from our business leaders, not that they tick the boxes and dot the i’s.

That’s what makes good bureaucrats, administrators, accountants and historians.

Progress is not pretty, neat or tidy and it often doesn’t fit any of the theories.

Our futures depend upon the risk takers, the determined and the ones who take on the difficult, the challenging and the impossible.

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Only people with character see the importance of growing character. I’d like to help you build your character. email me

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Issues My Clients Grapple With #9:

The issue:

You aren’t aware of what is trending right now. Not in your industry, in your business or even in your locale. You are swimming upstream and are just working harder and longer without knowing why. You aren’t calling the shots about where you are going – you don’t even remember where you are going.

The source

You are stressed out and overwhelmed, reacting to client problems and competition challenges.  You have no time or resources to research what is happening in your market, not to mention what is happening in your industry or even what is happening globally.

The answer

Subscribe to trendwatchers.com and springwise.com

Discuss and engage with trends in your daily business life with your colleagues, customers and industry network

Include goals in your yearly and quarterly goals that relate to your proactive responses to trends


Admitting to yourself where you are currently at

Its just as true personally as it is for your business.

StartIn order to get to your destination, you have to accurately determine where you are right now.

And that might even be noticing some areas where you are letting your team down – your record keeping, your level of impeccability in operating your systems – even your appearance can be letting you down.

That’s why I’m writing about this.

You see, we all set our own standards of operation.

Man in the MirrorAs we are usually the only one we are accountable to, it’s easy for our standards to drop.

If you are really interested in being the best you that you can be, then I’d suggest taking on a coach.

As soon as you spend time around a coach, it becomes obvious to you where you are currently at.

That’s why most people won’t come near a coach

When you see you are not operating on your best level of operation, you can make some changes.

It’s only when you see that, that you can do something about it.

Left to your own devices, you conveniently ignore where you are at, justifying your behaviors, turning a blind eye.

But you can’t build on justifications. 

Reality is the only foundation to move forward

So if you discover you’ve gone a bit feral, that your standards of operation and behavior have slipped, then that really is a good thing.

You can build on that.  You can improve on that.

You are now aware of that.

Then you can authentically look at where you want to go to (your goals) and start from the start.

You have to know where you are starting from if you want to go somewhere else.

Set your direction. Identify where you are at. Start your engines! email me.

Set your direction. Identify where you are at. Start your engines! email me.

The daily hard work of Aussie and Kiwi Business Owners

All around Australia and New Zealand,

in factories, workshops and offices

in shops, on the internet and on the road,

There are business owners working hard to grow their business, to support their families and take care of their employees.

They have their challenges

They are often frustrated by the daily things that stop them growing their business.

Stressed out and overwhelmed, they throw themselves day in and day out to achieve the task they have set themselves.

They throw the best in themselves to achieve their goals.

Their staff and families right behind them.

There’s support available

Now there’s a program starting in March 15 2016, that can help our Australian and New Zealand business owners break the limits they face every day.

It’s called Exponentials Downunder and it’s a program  where 30 business owners focus on growing their business in twelve months, to where they want to go.

You won’t be alone.

You’ll have your own dedicated coach, you’ll have 29 other determined business owners to talk issues through, you’ll be part of a group that’s going somewhere together.

It’s not for the faint hearted, it’s not for the close minded – it’s for open people who are willing to change and ready to do the things week after week to make their business grow.

If you want to know more about this amazing program call us (+61 (0)439 979 577) or email us at exponentials down under and we’ll show you how you can double your turnover, achieve rapid growth and stay ahead of the digital disruption.

Take charge of your business.  Get it under control.  Growing fast will require you to pull it all together. Let me support you.  email me.

Take charge of your business. Get it under control. Growing fast will require you to pull it all together. Let me support you. email me.


Issues My Clients Grapple With #8:

The issue

You don’t even know what your competition is doing. They are operating below your radar and you don’t have time to check them out. They are always catching you by surprise

The source

You neglect regular market research

You are operating your business in a vacuum

You are unaware of current trends

The answer

Market research regularly

Trend watch

Implications of 5G: Driverless cars, the internet of everything

The fifth generation wireless network is already in the works and the outcomes will be profound.

A 5G network will be powerful enough to download a movie to your tablet in less than 5 seconds, or to control a self-driving car.

It will be around 110% faster than anything available at the moment.

If you think things were moving fast in the last 12 months, hang onto your hats for the things to come.

There’s going to be fantastic opportunities for all manner of tech businesses as well as  every other business as well – think: more intelligent everything from fridges to bicycles to smartcards.

What can you discuss in your next meeting about how you are going to prepare for this new opportunity?

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Want some help to get you and your team engaged in how to bet your head in the game? mike@exponentialsdownunder.com

Issues My Clients Grapple With #10

The issue

You don’t know what your clients really want. You are giving them what they used to want, not what they want now. Your clients look like complaints and problems that you don’t really want to deal with. You have started complaining about your customers and see them as problems, instead of your opportunity to make money.

The source

Complacency, entitlement, being burnt out, distracted and off your game with customer service

The answer

engage with your values

develop customer profiles

empower staff to serve and communicate with your customers


Issues My Clients Grapple With #7:

The issue

Your team is not supporting you or working well together. You don’t have the right people on the bus. You don’t even have the right people in the right seats on the bus. Your team is not a team, working passionately toward common objectives.

The source

You haven’t been clear about your recruitment process – you haven’t defined what people you need on your business bus and what seats they need to sit in

The answer

Review all of your clients against a rating scale of A, B and C players

Make all of your recruitment choices based upon A’s and B’s

Get rid of all your C players

Be very clear about your business’s roles: the seats on the bus

Get the right people on the bus

Get the right people in the right seats on the bus

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