Archi's infrequent blog:
It's been a busy period, first chance I have had to put pen to paper for some weeks. So what's going on at the moment?
Today has been a technology day, I have been tinkering with the website to add in a welcome mat (the form that drops down encouraging you to sign up, when you visit the site). I changed my email marketing software (EMS) from MailChimp to ConvertKit, in the process of doing so, I managed to SPAM my entire group of mailing lists, DOH! You will likely know this already .... hopefully, you enjoyed my Infographic on the probability of your existence! If not sorry to have disturbed you.
Last week was extremely rewarding, two clients reported excellent results, and were kind enough to credit Crawford Strategic with a large contribution to the outcomes, both are outperforming their respective markets, growing product margins as well as revenues and have done so for several months. One client looks set to have grown revenues from £135M to £190M for the year, June reinforced the consistency of performance and added to their over target position. The second client recorded Order Intake above £1M for the month, i'm not sure if this is for the first time, it's certainly well above Target and is a positive reinforcement for the hard-work put in by the Group and Divisional Sales Managers to adopt new ways of working.
What I read:
"Extreme Ownership" - Jocko Willinck & Leif Babin
A compilation of hard-hitting Navy Seal combat missions retold to illustrate leadership and and how battlefield concepts can be applied in business.
It's a really engaging read if you have seen American Sniper, you may remember Chris Kyle, whose story it documents, was part of Seal Task Unit Bruiser; the authors served together with Chris Kyle in Seal Task Unit Bruiser, the book retells some of the missions they undertook to take back Ramadi from insurgents. Each battle story is told, the leadership element explored and then applied to business.
The authors built on their battlefield experience as military trainers authoring and teaching leadership to Navy Seals; it was an interesting diagnosis by the military chief's that the battlefield leadership experience gained in the world wars, and then Vietnam had been lost during the relative quiet of the years between Vietnam and the Iraq war. They further concluded that it wasn't sufficient for leadership to be passed from leader to protege they needed a formal leadership programme. How many SME businesses still rely on leadership passing from leader to protege?
A summary of the points Jocko and Lief make, is:
- The leader is always responsible. This is what they frame as "extreme ownership", leaders must always own the mistakes and shortcomings of their teams.
- Everyone on the team must believe in the mission.
- Work with other teams to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.
- Keep plans simple, clear, and concise.
- Check your ego.
- Figure out your priorities, and then act on them one at a time.
- Clarify your mission (i.e., your plan).
- Engage with your higher-ups; keep them in the loop - especially when they frustrate you.
- Act decisively, even when things are chaotic.
Ownership is a necessity on the battlefield, sadly it can be scarce in business; scarcer still in politics and football you might conclude after the past few weeks.
I should perhaps suggest the Football Association contact Jocko, he might be useful to the selection process [new manager] and likely could help with some of the leadership issues on the field also. Would be an interesting meeting between the battle-hardened veteran and the over-privileged players. Some conversation to observe, "We gave it our all MR Willinck ......"
What I learned:
If you own your results, you can improve them. This learning came from three different directions, of course, Jocko and Lief through their book. My clients who owned their results tried new stuff and delivered. From my daughter who missed out by two-hundreths of a second on a place at next weeks English Schools competition, and instead of crying off from this weekend's track meet went, to in her own words: "Get the times, for me, so that I know I am good enough", which she duly did in both 100M and 200M. Set against the sporting and political backdrops where ownership was all but non-existent, it was a rather uplifting end to the week.
I am a long way from the excellent example set by Sophia, no national standard times set by me, however, good steady progress. The injury incurred whilst attempting the 192 miles Wainwright Coast to Coast, has worked its way out. Mileage is increasing and I'm hopeful that i'll get two further ultramarathons in this year the Hardmoors 60 in September and the Sandstone Way in October. In tried and trusted fashion when in need of motivation, buy a gadget, enter stage a STRYD running power meter, power meters transformed cycling, some scientists are claiming the same will happen to running, let's see what it can do for me, hmmm what lesson did I say I had learned?