Jan 18

“Do you have an exciting One Page Strategic Plan and engaged Senior Management Team (SMT) driving innovation for 2017?”

“I need to clone myself to get stuff done!!!” is a lament we often here.

Do you feel the same way?

Back in 2007 I took my CEO and CFO of Greencross Limited to a Verne Harnish seminar in Brisbane. I was the company chairman at the time. I had been using tools promoted by Verne for decades so wanted to expose my colleagues to his teachings. Here’s a brief summary of what we were exposed to.

“Do you have a Big Exciting Audacious Goal for your company?”

We wanted to grow to 10% of the veterinary market in Australia and New Zealand. It meant growing our turnover and profits by more than ten times!!! We did better than that.

“Do you have a passion and purpose that unites your team and focuses them on innovation?”

We wanted to provide the most professional veterinary care and advice for passionate pet owners.

“Do you have a great team meeting often enough to create a sense of urgency to implementing actions to improve the business?”

We created a Senior Management Team or executive group, met daily for 15 minutes to identify what’s happening for you, how are we going against our daily targets, and what roadblocks exist?

We referred folk to where they could get help, allocated resources to assist, and got actions happening to unblock solutions.

These meetings were no more than 15 minutes…debate solutions elsewhere. This is a SMT download on stuff to be done and where to go to get help.

Refer debate on process changes or new opportunities to the Weekly SMT Operational Meeting for detailed discussion and action planning where there is time to do so.

This meeting rhythm allowed us to improve communication between the SMT members and actually saved time for all team members. We set priorities for unsticking customer and team member concerns and created a more dynamic decision making process in the company.

SMT members then added daily stand up huddles with their direct reports and took the same lessons into their teams.

Front line team members in sales, admin or “job doing” in its many forms in different parts of the company then were listened to daily and got immediate encouragement to fix stuff instead of waiting weeks for it to go up to SMT meetings and struggling to get the go ahead.

We found the quality of debate around improving the company and developing smart strategies to deliver what customers really valued also improved.

It sure beats trying to run a company on your own and feeling you have to make all the decisions and do all the stuff that needs doing.

It engages and energises all your team members.

But it is not about simply delegating responsibilities…it is more about creating a faster pulsing communication process between front line team members and your SMT.

This approach allowed us to grow from a micro listed company to the top ASX 200 over 10 years.

We’ve taken the lessons from Greencross and all the other businesses we’ve been working with into our new “Leadership for Profitable Business” workshop.

The next one is scheduled for February 21st in Auckland.

It’s a one day learning experience…click here for a detailed programme and registration process.

Bring your senior team members and create a SMT to work on improving your business and finding you time.

Then set an appropriate “Pattern of Meetings” and meeting rhythm to get decisions happening much faster than before.

You’ll profit from this experience.


Andrew Geddes 17th January, 2017.

Feb 26

Understanding your business 'Why'

Posted by Robert Drum at Thursday, February 26, 2015

We have been working with our clients on refreshing their strategic plans for 2015 and that's always a great reason to re-examine the 'WHY' of their business. 

And again we are finding that exploring the WHY of your business reignites your passion and energy around why you created your business in the beginning and when you articulate that WHY it inspires your team, your customers and everyone's greater success. 

Simon Sinek, the Master of Why, reminds us all that we don't buy What businesses do we buy the Why they are in business. View Simon's TED talk on Why HERE and be inspired. Then WATCH his next TED talk on "First the Why, then Trust" to get more insight into why your business needs more real leadership to be more successful.

The WHY of your business is the bedrock that your business success is built on. Take the time now to re examine and reignite the WHY of your business and adopt the behaviours of real leadership in your business to engage your team and get them to live the WHY and generate more success for everybody.

We can help you on this journey and invite you to join us at our next Workshops. The First is in Niseko followed by Brisbane

Jan 17

I tried to sell my equity to my staff but no one was interested!!!!

Posted by Andrew Geddes at Friday, January 17, 2014

I tried to sell my equity to my staff but no one was interested!!!!. (Some common sense suggestions for finding a solution to your succession.) A number of practitioners have called me lately to discuss their ownership transition so here’s a “no nonsense” summary for you to think about based on my 35 years working with design professionals.

What are my options?

Firstly, you could sell your firm to a listed corporate or a bigger firm.

You might get 4 to 8 times EBIT for your shares. This will depend on the perceived value of your firm and whether the corporates think it’s profit can be maintained without you? They may want you to stay and work with them for a few years. I am chairman of Greencross Limited, a listed national veterinary group, and we encourage vendors to stay with us for a few years and pay more to achieve this.

You will have to knuckle down and work within the policies and procedures of the corporate of course. After a career of calling the shots, this might come as a bit of a shock!!! 

If you are happy for your firm to be absorbed into a larger business, this option will allow you to “ride off into the sunset”. 

Secondly, if you wish to leave a legacy and to have your firm continue on after you have retired, you will need to sell to your staff.

You might get 2 to 4 times EBIT for your shares. This will depend on the willingness of your staff to accept risk and pay your requested price.

Put yourself into their shoes for a moment please.

Most staff in design profession firms have been heavily involved in technical work on jobs. They do not have financial management experience. They often have personal mortgages and younger families. And often a spouse who also does not have financial management experience as well!!!

They may be reluctant to want to purchase equity in a smaller private company that has been dominated by you.

It is a matter of communication and education to build their confidence…and this takes time.

Our experience suggests building a senior management group and involving staff in an annual strategic planning meeting and quarterly board meetings builds their knowledge of firm management and development and takes away the fear of investing in equity.

As a starting exercise, you could bring a team to our Profitable Business Management Workshop for architects, engineers and surveyors in March, 2014. Work as a team on setting a new strategic business plan, budgets and operational initiatives. Begin the process of bringing your senior associates’ commercial experience up to a level where they will want to purchase equity because they understand the business and its financial performance. 

Then you could look at a range of creative alternative entry/exit options all designed to build potential purchaser confidence…

Vendor financing the first 5% for a group of associates where dividends pay for their equity purchase and interest. This allows you to work with a group of younger executives over a period of time and get to build their commercial acumen and confidence. There is no better teacher than sitting around the decision making table over a period of time. You can then decide who gets an offer to purchase more equity. 

Staying on as a salaried consultant for a period of years after you have sold equity at a discounted price allows you to have an influence over the management of the firm. It gives the younger equity owners an opportunity to have you as a sounding board or special relationship manager. This has worked well in a number of ownership transitions. You get both a capital payment and an income stream over an agreed period of time. It could be a way to ease into retirement!

Thirdly, you could close the business down and walk away or gift it to someone. 

I am the chairman of a professional service group who have had two sole practitioners come to us requesting this option…. “Please look after our clients. We are retiring; we simply want someone to continue to look after them.”

Both of these practitioners were financially independent so did not need to sell their firms. Not everyone is in this admirable position of course so it means options 1 or 2 must be persued. 

Again, creating a profitable firm that can run without you is the key to getting a successful sale.

Attending our Profitable Business Management Workshop for architects, engineers and surveyors in March, 2014, in Brisbane with some of your senior staff could be the best starting point for you.

Click here to register now > 

Early bird prices are on offer until February 14th.

Come and plan for a profitable future with us in March.

Happy thinking about your future.

Andrew Geddes 12.01.2014