3 Ways to Overcome the Most Common Challenges Business Leaders Face Today

” Busy is a State of Mind, Not a State of Being.”

 ” There’s a constant feeling there’s not enough time to get the things done you
‘think’ you need to do, not necessarily the things that are actually mission critical. “

Adapted from an interview with Tim Kitching of The KONA Group, for the CMO Show, who shares the story of his unorthodox journey to become an organizational and executive coach, facilitator and advisor to some of the world’s biggest brands. Interviewer Elizabeth EÜ.

EÜ – What are the 3 most common challenges you see Business Leaders facing today?

TK – The 1st is time. A constant feeling that there’s not enough time to do the things that they think they need to do. And I stress that it’s the things they think they need to do, not necessarily the things that are actually critical to achieve a result and outcome.

The 2nd is people who think it would be a great idea to start a business doing what they do right now as an employee. There is a huge difference between being really good at doing what you do, and growing a business and/or team.

The 3rd is critical, it is planning and strategy. How am I going to take my idea or my business which is at this point, whatever it might be, and move it to where I want it to be?

EÜ – And how many of these are actually challenges, versus those that are just the result of inadequate leadership or time management practices?

TK – I think they’re really closely linked.

There’s two elements to time management. The first one is acknowledging that you only have a certain number of minutes in every day available to you. So actually the idea that you can do everything regardless, is a fallacy.

In our Sales Training and Sales Management Training programs we stress Time Management.  Our programs are based on the principle that  “You have 1,440 minutes a day to use which you will never get back, (and some of them actually have to be spent eating and sleeping)”  The key skill is utilising the balance of that time effectively.  Learning this is a process and a process that can be taught and learned.

What are you going to do? When are you going to do it? What will you not do that will give you time to work on the important stuff?

The second area is acknowledging that your time is valuable. The best way of managing this is to put a value on your time in dollars.

An example is to say, “If my time for argument’s sake is worth $500 an hour, I’m going to use that as a yardstick to make decisions about whether I will or won’t do something.”

Because the reality is, many Business Managers are engaged in activities which don’t actually fit that mission critical definition around taking their business forward.

EÜ – So how do you personally manage your time and how do you explain effective time management to your clients?

TK – The first one is I value it at $500 an hour. I look at everything I do every day in the time that I set aside to be working on or in my business, and I reflect around what am I doing? And what is it worth from a monetary standpoint.

That can include meeting clients, writing proposals, developing and running customised training workshops including Sales Training & Coaching or Sales Management Training and Coaching, Key Account Management Training, or Executive and Leadership Coaching, plus a 100 other things related to growing a business

Now I happen to find using dollar per hour is the way that works for me and when you start to do that, about all of the activities that you do you make a difference. So that’s the first tool that I use.

The second is I use what I call a default diary, and I use it all the time, so I’ll give you a great example: emails. The scourge of business in the 21st century.

I get a couple a hundred of them a day. Now, how do I manage that? It’s really simple. You put into your diary that you are going to spend maybe three half-hour sessions a day; morning, lunch time, late afternoon, on emails and that’s it. Very, very few things in business are so urgent they can’t wait two and half hours. On a Sunday night you go through your week and you lock into your diary a range of these daily activities, but you get quite self-disciplined around them.

EÜ – I think that’s what so many Sales Managers and Business Leaders are doing. They’re so frantic, there are so many demands for their attention at any given moment. If it’s not the phone it’s somebody running up to them at their desk. So how realistic is it for businesses to chunk out their calendars in that way and schedule everything in their diary?

TK- I have met too many people who turn up at work expecting the email or phone to go with a problem or task and they reactively lurch from one response to another, then say how busy they are

If you’re managing a team or running a business it is crucial to start your day with a little planning around what you need to do to be effective, not busy

There’s a fantastic book called The E-Myth Revisited, which most people, many, many people have heard of. The principles in that book are that you don’t build a team or a business because you want to spend the rest of your life working. You build a business because it enables you to do other things: pay your mortgage, live a life, see your family, retire. All of those things.

EÜ – So how do you encourage your clients to really focus on the things that are important, and even to take the time to understand what is important to them in the first place?

TK – The absolute first thing is that they’ve got to know what’s important to their customers (internal and external), to Win their Customers Hearts and Minds.

If you don’t know what’s really, really important to them and why you’re doing what you are doing, I think you’ve set yourself up for failure from the word go.

The second thing is thinking everything through and saying, does this activity take me closer to what I want team or business to achieve?

EÜ – Along those lines, can you share a success story that was the result of someone identifying what’s important to them? And then working strategically toward that end goal?

TK – Absolutely. I’m currently working with an organisation and their revenues and Sales Pipeline are declining and the culture in the organisation is one of survival.

This organisation supplies items to traditional brick-and-mortar retail outlets and what they were finding was the retail outlets were shrinking.

They thought this was because their end customer group was shrinking however it turns out that actually their market is growing. The issue is that the customers are buying online. In other words, this business didn’t have a fully functioning online B2C strategy.

They only deal business to business. But most of their end customers were online looking to buy direct from suppliers and manufacturers.

So bottom line is I am working with them one day a week as an Interim Sales Director to align their Sales and Marketing Teams to their customers Buying Cycle.

If any of your listeners would like to receive a FREE Sales and Marketing Health Check for their organisation, please just email me on [email protected] or text 0425 200883

EÜ – Great, thanks Tim. So we’re going to finish up with our question countdown, which is 5 quick questions and five quick answers.

EÜ – What business, book or idea has made the biggest impact on your life and why?

TK – Jack Canfield, The Success Principles, because those ideas in his book are gold.

EÜ – And what’s the one thing you can’t live without?

TK – I can’t live without my iPhone 6.

EÜ – Ooh, that’s a great lead into the next question: what is the most useful app on your phone right now?

TK – WhatsApp, because it enables me to keep in contact with a whole range of my clients in real time.

EÜ – In one sentence, what’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned throughout your business journey?

TK – Nothing is impossible and nothing is too hard. You just have to have the right mind-set.

EÜ – And finally, what skill do you want to enhance this year?

TK – Oh that’s easy — As a passionate Ice Hockey player and coach, I need to be able to ice skate backwards more quickly than I can right now.

EÜ – That’s great. Well, thank you for such a great conversation, Tim. We’re glad to have you on the show today.

That was Tim Kitching. He’s an Organisational and Executive Coach, Facilitator and Advisor at the KONA Group.

The KONA Group is Australia’s Leading Sales and Sales Management Training and Coaching company and provide Customised Training programs that include:  Sales Training & CoachingKey Account Management TrainingCall Centre Training & coachingNegotiation Skills Training & CoachingMotivational Speakers, HR Consulting; and more.

So if you are looking to increase the effectiveness and results of your organisation, contact KONA today on 1300 611 288 or text 0425200883 or email [email protected] to discuss how we can help you to improve your organisation’s results.