When growing up the TV series Wonder Woman was a big hit in our house. As a young girl, it was great to see a strong female superhero who was strong, smart and challenging and off course, able to beat up the boys…Lol, and still be feminine and sexy. In this blog by Dr Patti Fletcher ‘3 Ways to Change the World With Your Wonder Woman Mindset’ I love that she reminds us to be true to ourselves by recognising that we are not defined by our past, failures or other peoples opinions. My favourite point shared by Patti was – Feedback is rarely about the person receiving it and so much more about the person giving it. When someone tells you what he or she thinks of you, your business, your product or anything else, what he or she is really saying could be reworded to, “This is important to me.” Enjoy the read and let me know what your favourite point was. Maureen Egbe
In the beginning of the Wonder Woman movie, Diana Prince openly reflects on the darkness consuming mankind. Although that gloom-and-doom sets an ominous tone, Diana immediately shifts her mindset and turns into the Wonder Woman we know and love:
“I used to want to save the world. To end war and bring peace to mankind;
but then I glimpsed the darkness that lives within their light. I learnt that
inside every one of them there will always be both. The choice each must make
for themselves — something no hero will ever defeat. And now I know . . .
that only love can truly save the world. So now I stay, I fight and I give
— for the world I know can be. This is my mission now. Forever.”
is powerful. It determines values, construction of meaning, where you place
your energy. Everything. It takes into account how you intellectually
understand a concept and transforms it into how you live your life. Being
open to shifting your mindset, especially about deep-seeded beliefs, is one of
the best Wonder Woman traits you can adopt. Let’s look at three mindset shifts
you can apply today to start your transformation.
1. Your past does not define your future.
Mindsets take hold at multiple stages in life. Much of what we believe to be true can be traced back to childhood, a time when the world told you who you were and you believed it. The family of Lisa Morales-Hellebo, serial entrepreneur, executive producer of #INCLUDE and founder of REFASHIOND moved from Brooklyn to Westchester, N.Y., when she was a child. Her parents’ intention was to give their children a good life filled with opportunity. But, it didn’t work out so perfectly.
the only brown family in our town for quite a while,” Morales-Hellebo
They moved into
a neighborhood with a racist who was not afraid to show his disgust, leaving
severed deer heads on the Morales-Hellebos’ lawn and beating his
children if they had willfully interacted with Morales-Hellebo or her
family. Morales-Hellebo realized in her thirties that she had spent a
lifetime proving the racists beliefs about her wrong and that it was time to
shift what drove her to make an impact on the world.
Just a few years
before, Morales-Hellebo met a client, Carmen Ortiz-McGee, a fellow Latina, and
they became fast friends. Ortiz-McGee was Morales-Hellebo’s first Latina
friend. She brought Morales-Hellebo to a networking event with The Marathon
Club, an organization of diverse highly successful leaders, and Morales-Hellebo
soon discovered that she herself held bias. “It was the first time I have
been exposed to a roomful of black and brown people that were millionaires and
billionaires. It was mind-blowing and that shocked me. I couldn’t help but ask,
why didn’t I expect this of myself?” Morales-Hellebo says. Meeting
so many highly accomplished people who had similar stories to hers but found
that they asked themselves different questions and asked those same questions
of her: “What are you going to contribute to the world?” Her mindset was
shifted forever, and so were her actions.
advice on how to adopt a Wonder Woman mindset: Surround yourself with people
who fuel you. “[The Marathon Club event] was the first time I really
understood the saying ‘your potential is limited or increased by the people
with whom you surround yourself.'”
2. Success and failure do not determine your value.
Like Morales-Hellebo, Harriet Minter, journalist and host of the Badass Women’s Hour podcast, held several unconscious biases that trace back to her childhood. Having grown up watching her entrepreneur parents struggle, Minter had a healthy fear of striking out on her own. “I had grown up with firm belief that if you wanted to earn money, you had to work for a company and be paid a regular salary,” Minter says.
shift came when, as a journalist for The Guardian, she traveled with a
group of female entrepreneurs to New York. The kinship of the entrepreneurs
changed her mind about starting her own business. “I started to look at my
network differently: who I could team up with, who would help me and who I
could help,” Minter says. She has since started freelance writing,
consulting and co-hosting the highly successful Badass Women’s Hour
podcast. She adopted the practice of creating a monthly MAP (measuring and
planning) to set targets and hold herself accountable for achieving them.
on how to adopt a Wonder Woman mindset: Question your beliefs about what makes
a good life — your hang-ups and your actions. “I have become less
attached to success and failure. When things don’t work out, I let them go, and
when things work, I go with it,” Minter says.
3. Opinions are inputs, not directives.
The biggest mindset shift for both Morales-Hellebo and Minter came when they were able to shift away from internalising other people’s opinions of them to neutralising them. Whenever I am coaching female entrepreneurs and corporate executives, the feedback they receive from others is always a topic for discussion. While I am a huge fan of soliciting, gathering and analysing feedback, I caution about what feedback actually is by starting with what feedback is not. Feedback is rarely about the person receiving it and so much more about the person giving it. When someone tells you what he or she thinks of you, your business, your product or anything else, what he or she is really saying could be reworded to, “This is important to me.”
The work of
Carol Gilligan, the founder of feminist leadership theory, teaches us that
women are innately relational in decision-making. Women tend to consider
the impact of a decision in relation to the people it will impact. It’s no
wonder that women take feedback and opinions of others into
consideration. That is the power of Wonder Women just like you: You use
opinions — even when it’s disguised as constructive feedback — as data
points instead of as directives.
My advice on how to adopt a Wonder Woman mindset: Accept the context you are in but don’t let it define you. As a board member who holds three director seats on public technology companies told me, “You have to accept that you are dealing in an imperfect world. Some people are going to be comfortable dealing with me — some people are not — but I’m my own judge.”
Author Dr Patti Fletcher
Why constantly updating your business plan is the key to growing successfully.
“When should I update my business plan?” The answer to that question is always. You should be updating your business plan every month, every week and every day; whenever things change, you update your plan. And things always change. You should update your business plan when you’re alone in the shower, when you’re caught in traffic on the way to work, and when you’re walking alone. Update your business plan when listening to customers and other managers.
While this might seem like chaos, it’s actually the opposite; the constantly-updated business plan is what makes order out of chaos. It becomes a long-term planning process that sets up your strategy, objectives and the steps you need to take by constantly being aware of the results of these steps.
Managing the Planning Process
The Annual Update
Update your plan thoroughly at least once a year. You can start with an old plan and revise, but make sure you’re taking a fresh look–distance yourself from the trees and look at the forest.
- Talk to your customers and potential customers.
Review your value proposition. What are your customers buying? What problems do you solve? What other solutions can they choose?
- Try to come up with a new market segmentation.
Segmentation is the grouping or divisions you see in the market. For example, if you normally view your market by type of product, look at it by channel or buyer. If you divide by region, divide by size of buyer company. Think up a new segmentation to give you a fresh view.
- Look at the larger potential market for the problems that need solutions.
Look at contiguous businesses. Look at changing trends and technologies.
The Monthly Update
Accounting and financial analysis normally works in months since the books close after every month. Make sure you have a monthly review of the difference between planned results and actual results for your sales, profits, balance and cash.
- For each of the standard pro-forma projections, always maintain a table with the plan, another with actual results, and a third with the difference between plan and actual, which is called variance.
- As an annual plan marches through the months, you can use the table reserved for actual results to include changes in budget that affect the near future. For example, if the annual plan starts in January, then by the end of May you have an actual Sales Forecast that includes actual results for January through May and the latest revised forecast for June through December.
- You must also review the activities, deadlines and planned results that don’t fall into the financials. A good plan is full of milestones, assumptions and tasks, all of which should be measurable. Make sure you review and update these measured results every month.
Managing the Major Revisions
The business planning process involves an important paradox. Strategy works only when consistently applied over a long period, which means that you can’t implement strategy without following a long-term plan. However, blindly following a long-term plan can also kill a company that stubbornly insists on following a plan that isn’t working.
Resolution of the paradox is called management. It involves judgment. The owners, operators and managers of the business have the responsibility of distinguishing between consistently applying long-term strategy and blindly following a failing plan. There are no easy rules for this, but the first place to look for clues is in false assumptions. Has the real world proven wrong the assumptions on which your strategy is based? This kind of subjective judgment is what makes business management so important. The planning process, with its regular review, is critical.
Every Business Plan is Wrong
You have to realize your business plan is wrong. All business plans are wrong. Plans are about the future–and nobody gets the future right very often, so keep the plan fresh and watch closely as reality moves forward. A planning process constantly watches the difference between the plan and actual results. Reality swallows our assumptions and we need to keep track of where, why and how we were wrong. This kind of tracking becomes the key to management.
A Good Business Plan is Never Done
Author: Tim Berry – Entrepreneur.com
I’m going to tell you a secret. You already have all the data you need to make a difference in your business. Sure, you might have to dust it off, organise it and put it to work, but the insights you need are right there waiting for you. The real secret to data success is in learning how to take that flood of information, find what’s useful and make it actionable.
It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is — incorporating data analytics is an essential practice that reveals truths you need to know to make the best decisions for the future of your organization.
My role at Farmers focuses on using data to gain insights into human behavior that can help us serve our customers better. And though the ways and means might look a bit different, the focus of that work applies to businesses of any size in any industry.
So, let’s start at the beginning.
Gather your data.
The goal you are working toward or the decision you hope to inform will be the best guide of exactly which data you want to extract from all of the information you have flowing through your business. It is important to note, however, that in nearly every situation the data you work with should include customer information. There are privacy guidelines that you should take care to follow when working with customer data, but it’s worth the extra effort to protect your customers and learn about your business. Look to purchase records, customer databases, social media engagement and website interactions to find a whole host of data that will inform your understanding of your customers, their needs and the opportunities you should be chasing.
And how’s this for inspiration? A study from Dresner Advisory Services found that small-to-medium businesses are three times more likely than large enterprises to report the highest rates of business intelligence adoption. That means leaders just like you are finding ways to put their data to work and quite possibly doing it more effectively than the giants in their fields.
Parse your data.
Once you’ve collected data from sources that might be useful to you, it’s time to start looking for the information that’s going to help you make better decisions and achieve your goals faster. Sticking with our example of customer insights, this is the time to take stock of everything you know about your customers. Who are your brandchampions? Who are the biggest spenders? What do you know of the demographics of your customers?
The more answers you can glean to these questions, the better intelligence and insights you can discover. For instance, you’ll find out if your business follows the 80/20 rule — where 80 percent of volume tends to be contributed by 20 percent of customers — and you’ll know definitively if your products and services appeal more to millennials or baby boomers (or any other generation). This kind of intelligence creates opportunities for the kind of human insights that make a measurable impact on businesses.
Put your data to work.
Now that you have a foundation of intelligence and know what you’re looking for, the real work begins. This is the time to start measuring performance, making adjustments and tweaks to optimize everything from messaging to the purchase process and test, test, test! For instance, once you’ve used the data you parsed out to create buyer personas, you can begin to implement changes based on that intelligence. If the data shows you have good success with female millennials via in-person exchanges but low digital engagement, you know you have an opportunity to grow that consumer base by creating digital content and experiences that encourage further interactions and purchases.
It should come as no surprise then that Dresner Advisory Services also found that revenue growth and increased competitive advantage rank as two of the top three motivations for small-to-midsize businesses to invest in business intelligence and analytics.
The avenues of opportunity analytics can open for you are only limited by your willingness to explore the wealth of information you already have at your fingertips. Driven people launch businesses and chase their dreams — analytics sharpen and direct those instincts with insights and intelligence. If you haven’t already waded into the world of data analytics, I challenge you to jump in right away. You can’t know exactly what you’ll find when you do, but I can promise it’ll be better than staying on the sidelines and missing an opportunity to learn about your business.
Business leaders call for ‘Productivity Allowance’ to drag the UK out of lost decade
Business leaders have urged the Government to introduce a new ‘Productivity Allowance’ to help drag the UK out of a ‘lost decade’ of economic performance. The suggestion, which takes the form of a new tax allowance for productivity-raising technologies and support, features in a new report from the Institute of Directors, Lifting the Long Tail: The productivity challenge through the eyes of small businesses.
The IoD puts forward a range of other measures predominantly aimed at SMEs, including developing a more formalised national business support framework, expanding the Apprenticeship Levy into a wider training Levy, and improving the transfer of knowledge between academia and businesses. The proposals are described in a foreword by Andrew Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England, as “useful food for thought for government, as it begins to put in place the next stages of its important and ambitious Industrial Strategy”.
Tej Parikh, author of the report & Senior Economist at the Institute of Directors, said: “Solving the productivity puzzle has been a defining challenge for the UK over the past decade. The success of our post-Brexit economy hinges on our ability to unlock the vast untapped potential among UK small businesses.
“For too long, the debate has revolved around broad prescriptions and sweeping trends, but there is no silver bullet. We must now move the discussion out of the ivory tower and onto the office floor if we are to solve the productivity puzzle.
“To lift itself, the long tail will first need to twitch into action. This means shifting mind-sets and a series of small steps. Directors of smaller firms need the support and encouragement to spend more time working ‘on’ and not just ‘in’ their organisation, and to confidently adopt new management techniques and technology. We also need to retool our currently patchy national architecture for business advice, and there is no time to waste.
“As our leading innovators push the economic frontier, we must ensure new ideas, practices and technologies are diffused throughout the business community. The Government is right to make closing the gap between our high performers and lagging firms a focal point of its Industrial Strategy. But delivery could not come sooner, otherwise anaemic wages and subdued economic growth will continue to anchor an economy that should have the wind in its sails.”