Scaling Up Your Business Through Consistent Focus

How you do anything is how you do everything.

This ethos speaks directly to the importance of discipline in pursuing success. Whether you’re a startup founder, a small business owner, or a seasoned entrepreneur looking to scale up, maintaining exceptional discipline is always a non-negotiable factor in achieving sustained growth and success.

Many business owners dream of scaling up their operations, expanding their reach, and achieving substantial growth. However, this lofty goal cannot be attained without an unwavering commitment to discipline. Here’s why maintaining exceptional discipline all the time is crucial for scaling up your business:

  1. Consistent Execution Leads to Sustainable Growth

Discipline is the cornerstone of consistent execution. Without disciplined, consistent action, even the most well-conceived growth strategies will falter. Scaling up a business requires systematic and well-coordinated efforts, each building upon the other. Whether implementing new processes, expanding into new markets, or developing innovative products and services, consistent execution driven by discipline is key to sustainable growth.

  1. Resilience in the Face of Challenges

The road to scaling up is fraught with challenges and obstacles. From economic downturns and market fluctuations to internal operational issues, business owners must navigate many challenges on their growth journey. During these challenging times, exceptional discipline becomes a lifeline for the business. Discipline fosters resilience, enabling business owners to stay focused, adapt to changing circumstances, and overcome setbacks without losing sight of their long-term goals.

  1. Building a Culture of Accountability

Exceptional discipline sets the tone for a culture of accountability within the organisation. When leaders consistently demonstrate discipline in their actions and decision-making, it permeates the company, shaping the behaviours and attitudes of employees at all levels. A culture of accountability is essential for driving the collective effort required to scale up a business successfully. It ensures everyone is aligned with the company’s growth objectives and remains committed to delivering results with discipline and focus.

  1. Effective Resource Allocation

Scaling up a business often involves deploying resources strategically to maximise growth opportunities. Whether it’s financial capital, human resources, or time, disciplined decision-making is critical in resource allocation. Business owners with exceptional discipline are better equipped to prioritise investments, optimise operational efficiency, and allocate resources in a manner that accelerates the scaling process. The risk of misallocation, inefficiency, and missed opportunities increases without discipline.

  1. Long-Term Vision and Planning

Discipline is the bridge between short-term actions and long-term vision. To scale up successfully, business owners must have a clear and compelling vision for the future of their company. However, turning that vision into reality requires disciplined planning, execution, and monitoring. Whether setting ambitious growth targets, developing multi-year strategies, or fostering innovation, exceptional discipline ensures that the business stays on course and remains committed to its long-term aspirations.

  1. Enhancing Stakeholder Confidence

Exceptional discipline breeds trust and confidence among stakeholders, including investors, customers, and partners. When business owners consistently demonstrate discipline in their approach to scaling up, it creates a sense of reliability and competence, which are crucial for attracting investment, retaining customers, and forming strategic alliances. Stakeholders are more likely to support a business that exhibits unwavering discipline in pursuing its growth objectives.

  1. Adapting to Change with Agility

Adaptability is a hallmark of successful scaling efforts in today’s dynamic business environment. Exceptional discipline empowers business owners to embrace change with agility. Whether it’s seizing emerging opportunities, responding to competitive pressures, or evolving in response to industry trends, disciplined leaders are better equipped to steer their organisations through periods of change while maintaining a sharp focus on their scaling initiatives.

So, how can business owners maintain exceptional discipline all the time to scale up their business? 

Here are a few actionable steps:

Define Clear Goals

Clearly define your scaling objectives and break them into actionable goals. By having a clear roadmap, you can direct your disciplined efforts toward achieving specific milestones.

Establish Routines and Processes

Implementing consistent routines and processes within your organisation promotes discipline across all functions. From sales and marketing to operations and finance, having standardised processes fosters a culture of discipline.

Monitor Progress and Adjust Course

Regularly monitor key performance indicators and progress toward your scaling goals. This disciplined approach allows for data-driven decision-making and the flexibility to adjust course when necessary.

Lead by Example

As a business owner, your actions and decisions set the tone for the organisation. Lead by example by consistently demonstrating discipline in your work ethic, decision-making, and adherence to strategic priorities.

The path to scaling up a business is paved with countless choices, challenges, and opportunities. Exceptional discipline is the guiding force that propels business owners forward, even amid uncertainty and adversity. By maintaining exceptional discipline all the time, business owners can build a solid foundation for sustainable growth, foster a culture of accountability, and steer their companies toward more tremendous success. 

Remember, success isn’t measured by what you achieve but achieved by what you measure. Disciplined, consistent actions are what make those measurements meaningful in the journey of scaling up a business.

One sure way to ensure all your efforts are on the right things is to complete a holistic ‘audit’ of the business.  Click here to join more than 117,000 other SMEs who have already benefited from a free, bespoke #ADDAZERO Scaleup audit report. 

What I learned as a Digital Nomad

I can hardly believe it’s the end of November already after I packed my bags in August to test life as a Digital Nomad.

The first stop, was a rather cold and wet Dublin.

Of all the times I’ve flown into Northern Ireland, I’d never been to Dublin. A busy and vibrant metropolis where business was being done everywhere and a sense of optimism and purpose filled the air.

I’d hired an Aparthotel to host a VIP experience for a new client, only to learn (as he arrived) that prior to being converted to an apartment, it had been a marketing / PR agency – the same one he had the company logo designed by 18 years earlier!

We spent the day working on a new offering launch strategy and devised the entire campaign, offering, pricing, target audience demographics etc. That he could walk out and implement with certainty the following day.  And we got time to experience not only a little of the amazing architecture in the city but some great fine dining also.

Next stop, the weather couldn’t have been more different, as we arrived in Bermuda! 

We arrived on the cusp of hurricane season! Which, if you’ve seen films like The Perfect Storm, Twister, and Take Shelter you may be thinking Why on earth would you visit during hurricane season?

The reality is, Bermuda is a tiny island in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, just 21 miles long, and less than 2 miles wide.  There is nowhere to evacuate! And so, they have become damn good at weathering the storm.  The entire island is geared to bracing for hurricanes with really solid-built buildings, strong shutters, storm warnings and regular ‘drills’ to ensure minimum disruption.

Several hurricanes passed during the month we were there, and every time a person did their thing and hours later, everything was ship shape and back to normal.

My other observation from being here is determination.

The cost of living in Bermuda is about three times more expensive than in the USA, at least 250% more than in Canada or the UK. And so, if you live on the island, you work and work hard.  The Bermudian entrepreneur is devoted, and creative and doesn’t take no for an answer. 

Next stop, Corfu.  Or rather, A flight to Athens, to hire a car, to drive almost 600 kilometres to Igomenitsa to catch a 90mins ferry into Corfu Port! 

You see, Corfu is a seasonal island. It’s ‘open for business between Early May and Late October when around half a million tourists visit every year. Out of season the island pretty much ‘closes down’ with many returning to family in either mainland Greece, or, further afield, and the population drops to a little below 100K.

Having already been in the summer, and enjoyed the weather, the food and everything being open.  It was a very stark contrast to the high streets boarded up, almost ghost towns as the work for the year is done, and taking a well-earned rest before the 24hrs, 7 days a week for 6 months next summer.

My main observation from being here is balance.

When it’s busy, it’s busy. All effort is geared towards tourism and income generation.  The island is alive, thriving with energy and keen to be ‘of service’. But, with the ying, there is yang. And so, once the last aeroplane has taken flight and the airport closed. The attention turns to family, rest, and recuperation.  All the jobs that didn’t get done in favour of service, now become a priority as the tables are turned, as focus turns elsewhere.

Final stop, Southampton! Another new client to visit and onboard.  As well as having teamed up with Henri Ghijben to host TSA – The Tree Surgeons Academy. A hybrid online/in-person training, mastermind community for Tree Surgeons and Arborists across the UK. 

My main observation from being here is perspective.

Henri has built a thriving community of tree surgeons, all with a devotion to both them and their businesses, as well as family and future prosperity.  However, brute force and determination will only ever get us so far.  And whilst building a business is a priority for us all, putting the right people, systems, and processes in place.  Setting boundaries and non-negotiables. Determining the priorities is essential to prevent burnout, frustration and another trip on the merry-go-round called life!

I’ll be back shortly, with another insight on what I learned from being interviewed LIVE on stage in front of 500 entrepreneurs by Expert Empires CEO – Nick James!

The Game of Business is Numbers

Key Metrics for Sustainable Small Business Growth

In the ever-evolving landscape of entrepreneurship, the adage “knowledge is power” couldn’t hold truer. The modern business arena is a complex battleground, and for small business owners seeking sustainable growth, understanding and harnessing the right numbers is the key to success. Just as a chess grandmaster studies the board and anticipates moves, an astute entrepreneur delves into critical metrics to make informed decisions and guide their business toward prosperity. In this article, we’ll explore the pivotal numbers every business owner should measure, the risks of overlooking them, and the transformative impact measuring these metrics can have on sustainable growth.

The Crucial Metrics: A Blueprint for Success

Revenue and Profit Margins

The backbone of any business, tracking revenue and profit margins is non-negotiable. These numbers reflect the health of your enterprise and provide insights into the efficiency of your operations. By knowing your profit margins, you can gauge how much money your business is truly making after deducting expenses. This knowledge enables you to adjust pricing strategies, optimize costs, and allocate resources effectively.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)

Understanding how much it costs to acquire a customer and how much they’re worth to your business over their lifetime is crucial. If your CAC outweighs CLTV, your growth might be unsustainable, putting your business on shaky ground. By monitoring and optimizing these metrics, you can fine-tune marketing efforts and focus on acquiring high-value, loyal customers.

Cash Flow

Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. It’s not just about how much money comes in, but when it arrives. Poor cash flow management can lead to missed opportunities, operational disruptions, and even business failure. Tracking cash flow ensures you have the funds to cover expenses, seize growth opportunities, and weather unforeseen challenges.

Inventory Turnover

For businesses that deal with physical products, inventory turnover is paramount. Holding excess inventory ties up valuable capital and can lead to obsolescence. On the flip side, insufficient inventory can result in missed sales. Striking the right balance through efficient inventory turnover management helps optimize resources and revenue.

Customer Churn and Retention Rates

Losing customers can be detrimental to growth. Monitoring customer churn rates allows you to identify areas of improvement in your product or service. Simultaneously, focusing on retention strategies can help create a loyal customer base that generates steady, recurring revenue.

Gross and Net Profit Margins by Product/Service

Not all products or services are created equal. By analyzing the profitability of each offering, you can allocate resources to the most lucrative aspects of your business. This data-driven approach prevents you from pouring resources into ventures that yield minimal returns.

Return on Investment (ROI) and Break-Even Point

Every business initiative, from marketing campaigns to new product launches, should be evaluated based on ROI. Knowing when you’ll break even on investment helps assess its viability and aligns with your growth strategy.

The Risks of Ignorance: Navigating the Blind Spots

Failing to measure and understand these critical numbers can lead to a range of challenges that stunt your business’s growth potential:

  • Misguided Decisions: Without accurate data, decisions become speculative at best. You risk investing time, money, and effort into strategies that might not yield the desired results.
  • Financial Instability: Inadequate cash flow management can lead to a cash crunch, hindering day-to-day operations and growth opportunities.
  • Stagnation: Without tracking key metrics, you may miss signs of stagnation or decline until it’s too late. This hampers your ability to pivot and adapt to changing market conditions.
  • Inefficient Resource Allocation: Operating in the dark about profitability by product or service can result in the misallocation of resources, hindering the growth of your most promising offerings.
  • Lack of Focus: Ignoring customer acquisition costs and lifetime values can lead to a haphazard approach to marketing and customer retention, impacting overall growth.

The Transformative Impact: Driving Sustainable Growth

Conversely, a strategic focus on these critical metrics can propel your small business toward sustainable growth:

  • Informed Decision-Making: Armed with accurate data, you can make informed, data-driven decisions that minimize risks and capitalize on opportunities.
  • Resource Optimization: Tracking key metrics allows you to allocate resources efficiently, amplifying the impact of your efforts on growth.
  • Agile Adaptation: Regularly monitoring metrics enables you to identify trends and shifts in the market, allowing you to pivot and adapt your business model as needed.
  • Financial Resilience: A deep understanding of cash flow and profitability safeguards your business against financial instability, providing a buffer against unexpected challenges.
  • Strategic Planning: Armed with insights into customer behaviour and market dynamics, you can develop more effective, targeted growth strategies.

Conclusion: Playing to Win

In the intricate game of business, numbers are your ultimate allies. Small business owners who recognize this truth and embrace the power of measuring critical metrics gain a competitive edge. Armed with knowledge, they navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship with confidence, agility, and a clear vision for sustainable growth. Remember, the game of business is won or lost based on how well you play the numbers game. We work with busy business owners who want to Significantly and Sustainably scale up their businesses.  We do this, not by just concentrating on more leads, more conversions and better pricing (Although we do cover these things) but by looking a lot more strategically at the business model against the desired outcome of the business owner the vision and all stakeholders.

From this we can apply more than 15 years of ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ of disruptive pattern thinking, to disrupt the norm, analyse the data and invite both alternative perspectives, challenge the status quo and create a path for overcoming the challenges to scaling the business effectively.

I don’t need to know the name, address and purpose or every widget – I simply need to see the pieces on the board, and the way you play the game!

Are you ready to #ADDAZERO? Get your free ScaleUp Scorecard report on the current hidden scalability and vulnerabilities within your business HERE

Other resources

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The cost of doing nothing

ADDAZERO Business Audit

What is #ADDAZERO

Exactly what is #ADDAZERO?

GREAT Question I get asked that a lot.

The quick answer is, it’s a proven, accredited Methodology we support Business Leaders to implement within their companies to Significantly and Sustainably Scale.

But to answer it more fully, you would need to know the origins of this, and why we’ve made it our mission to eradicate unemployment in the UK!

My first business was grossly impacted by the sudden and rather unexpected closure of Woolworths in 2008.  At the time, we were one of hundreds (if not thousands) of suppliers to the High Street Giant, and had SEVEN employees working on the contract.  That was until Deloittes placed them into administration and with it our multi 6 figure contract!

And whilst we performed a Business turnaround for our own business, the cost of which wasn’t just financial, but physical and emotional. And one I vowed I didn’t want any other Business Owner to have to face.  So, I set about to determine what causes good businesses to fail.

It led me to becoming a guest lecturer on the MBA programme and heading up a team of MBA business analysts researching the cause of more than 150 National Business Failures, and subsequently surveying more than 100K SME Business Owners.

We’ve used that Data to create, test, review, revise, retest and apply a comprehensive business methodology that enables business owners to significantly and sustainably grow both themselves and their businesses, with the competence and confidence to make bigger, bolder, brighter decisions in the knowledge they have the people, systems and processes to mitigate the risk of failure.

 

It was only once we began to implement this, first within our own business, and subsequently with those we were currently working, that we acknowledged the opposite of failure is success.  And, with the relevant elements in place to mitigate failure, all that was left is success.

Owing to its ongoing success in supporting business leaders to transform both themselves and their businesses, it became known as #ADDAZERO

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To begin your journey to #ADDAZERO, click here: www.addazero.co.uk/free-scale-audit

 

 

What are Business Ethics?

What Are Business Ethics?

Business ethics concerns ethical dilemmas or controversial issues faced by a company. Often, business ethics involve a system of practices and procedures that help build trust with the consumer. On one level, some business ethics are embedded in the law, such as minimum wages, insider trading restrictions, and environmental regulations. On another, management behaviour can influence business ethics, with wide-ranging effects across the company.

They guide executives, managers, and employees in daily decision-making. For example, consider a company that has decided to dump chemical waste that it cannot afford to dispose of correctly on a vacant lot it has purchased in the local community. This action has legal, environmental, and social repercussions that can damage a company beyond repair.

Why Is Business Ethics Important?

There are several reasons business ethics are essential for success in modern business. Most importantly, defined ethics programs establish a code of conduct that drives employee behaviour—from executives to middle management to the newest and youngest employees. When all employees make ethical decisions, the company establishes a reputation for ethical behaviour. Its reputation grows, and it begins to experience the benefits a moral establishment reaps:

  • Brand recognition and growth
  • Increased ability to negotiate
  • Increased trust in products and services
  • Customer retention and growth
  • Attracts talent
  • Attracts investors

When combined, all these factors affect a business’ revenues. Those who fail to set ethical standards and enforce them will eventually find themselves alongside Enron, Arthur Andersen, Wells Fargo, Lehman Brothers, Bernie Madoff, and many others.

Types of Business Ethics

There are several theories regarding business ethics, and many different types can be found, but what makes a business stand out are its corporate social responsibility practices, transparency and trustworthiness, fairness, and technological practices.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the concept of meeting the needs of stakeholders while accounting for the impact meeting those needs has on employees, the environment, society, and the community in which the business operates. Of course, finances and profits are essential. Still, they should be secondary to the welfare of society, customers, and employees—because studies have concluded that corporate governance and ethical practices increase financial performance.

Businesses should hold themselves accountable and responsible for their environmental, philanthropic, ethical, and economic impacts.

Transparency and Trustworthiness

Companies need to ensure they are reporting their financial performance transparently. This not only applies to required financial reports but all reports in general. For example, many corporations publish annual reports to their shareholders.

Most of these reports outline the submitted reports to regulators, how and why decisions were made, if goals were met, and factors that influenced performance. In addition, CEOs write summaries of the company’s annual performance and give their outlooks.

Press releases are another way companies can be transparent. Events important to investors and customers should be published, regardless of whether it is good or bad news.

Technological Practices and Ethics

The growing use of technology of all forms in business operations inherently comes with a need for a business to ensure that the technology and information it gathers are being used ethically. Additionally, it should ensure that the technology is secured to the utmost of its ability, especially as many businesses store customer information and collect data that those with nefarious intentions can use.

Fairness

A workplace should be inclusive, diverse, and fair for all employees regardless of race, religion, beliefs, age, or identity. An appropriate work environment is where everyone can grow, be promoted, and become successful in their own way.

How to Implement Good Business Ethics

Fostering an ethical behaviour and decision-making environment takes time and effort—it always starts at the top. Most companies create a code of conduct/ethics, guiding principles, reporting procedures, and training programs to enforce ethical behaviour.

Once conduct is defined and programs implemented, continuous communication with employees becomes vital. Leaders should constantly encourage employees to report concerned behaviour—additionally, there should be assurances that whistle-blowers will not face adversarial actions.

A pipeline for anonymous reporting can help businesses identify questionable practices and reassure employees that they will not face any consequences for reporting an issue.

Monitoring and Reporting Unethical Behaviour

When preventing unethical behaviour and repairing its adverse side effects, companies often look to managers and employees to report any incidences they observe or experience. However, barriers within the company culture (such as fear of retaliation for reporting misconduct) can prevent this from happening.

Published by the Ethics & Compliance Initiative (ECI), the Global Business Ethics Survey of 2021 surveyed over 14,000 employees in 10 countries about different types of misconduct they observed in the workplace. 49% of the employees surveyed said they had observed misconduct, and 22% said they had observed behaviour they would categorise as abusive. Furthermore, 86% of employees said they reported the misconduct they observed. When questioned if they had experienced retaliation for reporting, 79% said they had been retaliated against.

Indeed, fear of retaliation is one of the primary reasons employees cite for not reporting unethical behaviour in the workplace. ECI says companies should work toward improving their corporate culture by reinforcing the idea that reporting suspected misconduct benefits the company. Additionally, they should acknowledge and reward the employee’s courage in making the report.

Principles of Business Ethics

It’s essential to understand the underlying principles that drive desired ethical behaviour and how lacking these moral principles contributes to the downfall of many otherwise profitable, effective and otherwise prosperous businesses.

There are generally 12 business ethics principles:

Respect for laws: Ethical leadership should include enforcing all local, state, and federal laws. If there is a legal grey area, professional and personal life aspects rather than exploiting a gap.

Leadership: The conscious effort to adopt, integrate, and emulate the other 11 principles to guide decisions and behaviour in all professional and personal life aspects.

Integrity: Incorporates other principles—honesty, trustworthiness, and reliability. Someone with integrity consistently does the right thing and strives to hold themselves to a higher standard.

Responsibility: Promote ownership within an organisation, allow employees to be responsible for their work, and be accountable for yours.

Accountability: Holding yourself and others responsible for their actions. Commitment to following ethical practices and ensuring others follow ethics guidelines.

Honesty: Truth in all matters is critical to fostering an ethical climate. Partial truths, omissions, and under or overstating don’t help a business improve its performance. Bad news should be communicated and received the same way as good news to develop solutions.

Transparency: Stakeholders are people interested in a business, such as shareholders, employees, the community a firm operates in, and the family members of the employees. Without divulging trade secrets, companies should ensure information about their financials, price changes, hiring and firing practices, wages and salaries, and promotions are available to those interested in the business’s success.

Respect for others: To foster ethical behaviour and environments in the workplace, respecting others is a critical component. Everyone deserves dignity, privacy, equality, opportunity, compassion, and empathy.

Compassion: Employees, the community surrounding a business, business partners, and customers should all be treated with concern for their well-being.

Fairness: Everyone should have the same opportunities and be treated the same. If a practice or behaviour makes you feel uncomfortable or place personal or corporate benefit in front of equality, common courtesy, and respect, it is likely unfair.

Loyalty: Leadership should demonstrate confidentially and commitment to their employees and the company. Inspiring employee and management loyalty ensures they are committed to best practices.

Environmental concern: In a world where resources are limited, ecosystems have been damaged by past practices, and the climate is changing, it is of utmost importance to be aware of and concerned about the environmental impacts a business has. All employees should be encouraged to discover and report solutions for practices that can add to damages already done.

The Bottom Line

Business ethics concerns employees, customers, society, the environment, shareholders, and stakeholders. Therefore, every business should develop ethical models and practices that guide employees’ actions and ensure they prioritise the interests and welfare of those the company serves.

Doing so increases revenues and profits, creates a positive work environment, and builds trust with consumers and business partners.

Care to learn more?

I quit

In the last few months, I’ve quit, two different business activities. Even though, both were serving me and my business well!

In the summer, I quit attending a series of trainings I had signed up for and was learning much from. Then last week, I quit a networking group I have attended for well over a year.

On both occasions, what I signed up for was being delivered, and both I (personally) and we (professionally) benefited.

However, I became aware, of a significant and jarring difference in the standards by which we operate. And it eventually resulted in no longer being aligned!

Whilst, in modern-day purely ceremonial functions, as far back as Roman warfare and medieval warfare the standard-bearer had an important role on the battlefield. The standard-bearer acted as an indicator of where the position of a military unit was, with the bright, colourful standard or flag acting as a strong visual beacon to surrounding soldiers. Soldiers were typically ordered to follow and stay close to the standard or flag in order to maintain unit cohesion, and for a single commander to easily position his troops by only positioning his standard-bearer, typically with the aid of musical cues or loud verbal commands. It was and remains an incredibly honourable position. And one carrying a considerable risk, as a standard-bearer would be a major target for the opposing side’s troops seeking to capture the standard or pull it down.

This is also reflected in the context of the Olympic Games. The flagbearer is the athlete who has been chosen to represent their country at the opening and closing ceremonies by carrying the flag of their country and leading their country’s athletes, coaches, and aides.

So what are business standards?

Company standards refer to a set of values, performance benchmarks, and beliefs. All of these components make up the character of the business. Look at it much like you would the personality of a person. They are a significant determinant of how other people view or form an opinion about your brand.

Management standards are a critical component of running a business. It determines the level of trust and credibility amongst different stakeholders. Such include customers, employees, suppliers, and the public at large. They are also business guidelines that determine every process you make in the company.

Management standards cover a wide area. You look at performance, quality standards, safety, and testing, to name a few. The entrepreneur must come up with a set of rules that everyone must follow.

There are two facets to setting up business management standards.

The first is how you, as an individual, want to run your company. It is voluntary but goes towards establishing greater confidence amongst customers. Deciding to use local ingredients in a restaurant is a personal decision. The law cannot come after you if you decide to source your ingredients elsewhere, including internationally.

The second complies with regulatory authority guidelines. If you are in the medical field, it is a rule that practitioners have the relevant certification. It is a regulatory requirement and breaching such can result in legal repercussions.

Values/Standards – what’s the difference?

Values help us live with direction and purpose – like a guiding compass. Whatever is going on in our lives, our values can show us a path forward, and help us make better choices. Values are also intimately linked to our sense of self, and they’re essential for our mental health.

Values may be expressed as a stand-alone statement and form part of an authority’s code of conduct. Standards describe acceptable workplace behaviour and help guide the practical application of values. Standards are usually set in a code of conduct or similar.

The British Army Leadership Code is founded on Values. To them: Courage, Discipline, Respect for Others, Integrity, Loyalty, and Selfless Commitment are much more than words on a page, they are what the British Army stands for, and what sets us apart from society at large.

I may no longer be a serving soldier, but forever a veteran. I was introduced to, engaged with, accepted, and now live by a set of standards to which all future decisions are made. Based on Ethics, Sustainable growth, Active Listening, and Win | Win | Win outcomes.

So, why did I quit?

Well, because despite benefiting from their services, once we had learnt about HOW they do business, I realised this doesn’t align with our values of how WE do business.

You may ask: But surely as long as they are living within THEIR values, why does that matter? Surely. YOUR values are for you, not to ‘cast’ on all others?

Well, that may be true, until it’s not! You see, Like attracts Like. We ultimately want to do business with people like us! And, once you have learnt something that doesn’t meet the same standard/values match as yourself, it begins to bring into question your belief in that value, how important it is to you, and whether are you compromising on it, by continuing to ‘support’ someone else with differing views of the world?

Trust me, I’m not saying we are always right. And it’s important we use these opportunities to reflect, go back to our own standards, principles, and values and centre check to determine why we believe what we believe.

But, once you have done so, ACTION is required. Either to review and revise your own beliefs (and understand what caused a change in them) or to DEMONSTRATE your own values by living by them – ALWAYS.

My final comment here is regarding 9-5…

We may (I chose not to) dress in a certain way “For work” we may choose to act (I also chose not to) in a certain way “whilst at work” we may (accidentally or purposefully) create a WORK persona. Something we ‘step into’ as we leave the front door, and leave outside as we return home.

I know, that as a serving soldier it was imperative for me to be able to do this effectively. My wife and son didn’t require the skills, mannerisms, and behaviours of a Rapid Deployment Soldier around the home. Likewise, my deployment team didn’t require a husband or father. There was a need, to ‘switch on’ and ‘switch off’ the various attributes of each role. But, one thing that remained constant throughout was my attitudes and behaviours. My VALUES towards Courage, Discipline, Respect for Others, Integrity, Loyalty, and Selfless Commitment remained (and remain) constant.

What Standards / Values does your business uphold? and how do you demonstrate this to others?

Additional reading

Why Values are key to success

Why saying NO, is good for business

7 reasons NOT to join a Mastermind