by Jo Mousley

As we get towards the end of January, I sit here reflecting on the first month in my new role of MD here at PDW Group and I have got to say I am pleasantly surprised. After the first day in the role bringing about a major challenge with going into yet another lockdown on the evening of 4th January, I feel we have achieved a lot in the face of adversity!

So using a phrase my team is already sick of hearing me say, ‘eat your own cooking’, I thought I would share some tips that have certainly helped me so far and I will be adding into the next 70 days!

1.Your people – I ummed and ahhed about whether this or the plan should come first, however in my experience if you understand your people properly then you will find the right place for them in the plan. So talk to your team, get to know their hopes, fears and aspirations. The closer you can align your own business plan with the life plans of your people, the more successful both of you will be. I am not saying give your team everything they want, but help them to understand what they achieve at work helps them to achieve in life. This involves thinking longer-term and showing them the options a career with you might bring. That may mean having a few tough conversations also. There may be people in your team who have aspirations that are not aligned to your business plan or they are not demonstrating the behaviours or the will to achieve that ambition. By not being honest, you are doing both of you a disservice.

2. What gets measured gets done – Once you have understood your people and your own business vision and how the two fit together, you need to be clear about how you will achieve it. This will ultimately involve measurement. Whether you are making widgets or selling professional advice, either way you need to be clear about what target you want to achieve and how the team will contribute to this. One thing I have learnt in life is that you definitely can’t do it all on your own. Where possible, agree those targets with the team, if they disagree, talk to them about the impact of adjusting those targets on the bigger picture and ultimately them. If your team needs help, training or are changing roles, make sure you give them time, resources and support to learn and make mistakes. Creating an environment where mistakes are all part of learning will mean you get to know about them sooner and you can help to fix them before they have too much of an impact.

3. Your clients/customers – I personally have spent more time during lockdown just chatting to my clients, understanding them and what makes them tick with no agenda. Don’t forget these people are human too and will obviously help you to achieve your targets but take them with you on your journey too. I have found it overwhelming the messages of support I have received from clients and customers along the way these past few weeks. These have certainly helped me during the dark days and built my self-belief!

Finally, once you have all those things in place, communication, communication, communication! Yes, it does deserve to be said three times as in any situation where it involves people this is key. Whether it be in work, marriage, homeschooling kids, communication is what makes it a success. I must admit I have got the balance wrong several times in life, but in work, the more you talk the better it is. In the current situation, you have to try even more to connect, whether it’s a zoom call, a face to face to walk at a distance or even just a handwritten note, it is a free tool we all have and don’t use often enough. Just going back to my team and being prepared to take feedback myself, I am working hard on one aspect of communication at the moment and that is to listen! I will have to let you know how that goes over the next 70 days!