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Helping business owners to find their ‘WHY’

Helping business owners to find their ‘WHY’

To develop the leadership capability of your organisation, finding and having a strong sense of purpose (your WHY) is vital

Asking the right questions can make all the difference, when it comes to making great decisions, and can be monumental in helping people to grow, both personally and professionally. As CEO and founder of Why Leadership, Graeme McKinnon is still on his own leadership journey, continually developing his leadership skills as part of a lifelong journey of learning and growth.

A quote I often refer to is one of Simon Sinek’s most famous: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it!” Sinek also said: “I believe fulfilment is a right, not a privilege. We are all entitled to wake up in the morning inspired to go to work, feel safe when we are there, and return home fulfilled at the end of the day. The key to achieving that fulfilment starts with understanding exactly WHY we do, what we do.”

Asking questions, and being curious, is a key component of business coaching. Coaching with compassion, however, goes deeper. Taking a holistic approach allows people to connect their purpose, passion, values and dreams, helping them to get the clarity they need to accelerate personal and organisational growth. Having spent the last 16 years leading and growing three well-known franchise brands, I understand first-hand how challenging it is to create and grow a successful franchise business. My experience to date includes the delivery of a successful five-year project, where I helped position Cash Generator, firstly for acquisition by a private equity firm, and then onto a successful franchisee led management buyout. 

It’s no secret that strong leadership skills are essential in franchising at every level. Whether you’re only just beginning your franchising journey, or whether you’ve been running your own business for years, asking questions and staying curious is very important when it comes to effective leadership. This point is amplified when it comes to growing your business, as well as developing yourself. By asking yourself some simple questions before rushing to move forward, you can avoid many of the common pitfalls that often catch us out.

My business coaching strategy always starts with helping franchisors and franchisees to find and articulate their WHY. This includes encouraging existing or aspiring leaders, to ask themselves these four key questions:

1. What is my purpose, and do I feel inspired every day because I am part of something bigger than myself?
To develop the leadership capability of your organisation, finding and having a strong sense of purpose (your WHY) is vital. Yes, most people have mission or vision statements, but really understanding your cause, your belief, is a game-changer. Your WHY is ultimately the reason your business exists. It should inspire you and your team every day, because of the impact your WHY has on the clients and the communities you serve.

2. Does everyone in my team have a growth mindset, and if I could improve mindset across the organisation, how would that impact growth for our business?
You only need to look at how your team is feeling, and performing, to get an insight into how your clients are being served. Understanding what your internal audience is thinking, and then being able to respond appropriately, is vital to inspire the people who you have empowered to bring your WHY to life.

An essential part of being able to deliver growth is exploring ways to develop and master your mindset, challenging negative mindsets and self-limiting beliefs. As a leader, you will already know that your team is the beating heart of your business. Creating a high-performing team, that has the autonomy to deliver seemingly impossible performance, requires people to have the right mindset. When problems arise, instead of thinking of your team as a problem, think about what you can do to provide the coaching and mentoring they need to grow and achieve their full potential. I truly believe that to be a great leader, you must create the right environment for everyone to develop their own leadership skills, regardless of rank or title.

3. Are my business goals connected to my personal goals to really drive me forward?
Your lifestyle goals and your dreams for the future will probably be inextricably linked to the very reason you started your business in the first place. Aligning your personal and business goals, and living your life in balance, are all important if you are to achieve your desired future - whatever that means for you. Having your goals written down, along with a business plan, and ideally having an accountability partner, can also make a big difference when it comes to developing the habits you need for success.

There is a great coaching tool that I use to assess how satisfied people are with key areas of their lives, including – career, health, friends and family, significant other, home environment, personal growth, money, fun and leisure. This allows people to set their own goals in the areas of their life where they would like to improve.

4. How confident am I that my leadership skills are getting the best out of my team?
Leaders are usually judged on how well their teams are performing, so if you’re not continually working on developing your leadership skills, you probably won’t be getting the best out of your team. This includes making sure that you are setting time aside to take care of the health and wellbeing of your team, as well as yourself.

In my experience, too many business leaders still think they need to have all the answers, which of course is not true. Being the last to speak is a great leadership skill to develop. This includes holding the space for your team to discuss and debate what they think needs to be done, to solve problems and drive growth so that they are empowered to develop their leadership skills for the future. This is what I like to refer to as the ‘Leadership Legacy’.

After the last year of challenge and upheaval, it can be difficult to offer certainty on your future prosperity. But people need to be certain of your leadership, feeling safe in the knowledge that you have a clearly defined vision for the future, and that you will always work with your team to find the best way forward.

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