Entrepreneurship & Business Acumen
Understanding what key abilities and attitudes to develop for starting and running your own business. Discussion of various kinds of business styles and choosing one that suits you (owner/manager, self-employed, freelancer, broker, 'true' entrepreneur, investor, intrapreneur, etc.) Working through the necessary processes of developing a successful business, from the pre-preparation (learning, research & psychological) phase right through to the exit phase. This program is very practical and hands on. There is a minimum of theory. The emphasis is on trying out ideas that seems to have worked with myself or other successful entrepreneurs and business people, but knowing that the application in each person's unique circumstances will often be very different when it comes to the detail!
Creativity & Innovation
This overlaps with the concept of entrepreneurship and is applicable also to medium and large companies. Small businesses tend to be focused more on innovation than on process, but have poor business structures. Larger businesses have good formal structures, but often overlook innovative opportunities as a result of inertia. These programs are all about entrepreneurial innovation - one program focuses on taking a fresh look at the core business principles and corporate mission, plus the market (product/customers). Another program takes a specific issue (marketing, new product, strategy, etc.) and explores it using a variety of creative thinking techniques (Six Thinking Hats, Lateral Thinking, ASIT, etc.) as applicable. Another program would work with a specific technique (STH, LT, Mind Mapping, etc.), using a 'live' current issue to practice on. Yet another program looks at Business or Marketing Strategy, applying some of these techniques as part of the facilitation process.
Effective Leadership, Communication & Presentation Skills
These programs focus on how to get the message across - either in a sales presentation, in public speaking situations or negotiations, as well as effective communication within the organization. On the more mechanical level, there are programs on using PowerPoint effectively, Mind Mapping to organize your ideas, and voice training and using your body. On a higher level are the programs that develop the ability to think about the desired outcome of one's communicative efforts, and how to coach, motivate and inspire others. A separate but overlapping program focuses on self-esteem and confidence and the ability to be an effective leader. My belief is that a leader is simply someone who is clear about his passions and goals. This translates intuitively into effective communication and the ability to motivate and inspire others. (See Goal Setting below.)
Related to Effective Communication is the clarity (and existence) of documentation that sets out how to produce quality outcomes. This is a more consultative program that will require one-to-one advice sessions with key executives. The idea is to produce several kinds of documents, starting with a simple induction manual and then developing a Quality or Procedures Manual, using either hyperlinking or mind mapping to avoid heavy manuals that remain unopened! Much of the effort goes into discussing how to encapsulate critical Operational Procedures in a single mind map or web page. I don't provide ISO 9000 consulting any more, but these approaches will go a long way to achieving the basic requirements - with the advantage that they will actually work in practice!
Recruitment and Interviewing
This is often split into two separate programs, the first (Recruitment) is a facilitative session to discuss what kind of people are required for the organization. Here we will use creative thinking to reevaluate the important selection criteria, which seldom has anything to do with technical abilities or formal qualifications. Another aspect that is discussed in a facilitative way, is how to align personal goals with corporate goals, so that staff are more motivated and loyal to the company. The second (Interviewing) session is a combination of training and role play: learning and practicing how to ask the really important questions about actual abilities and attitude, without taking anything in the resume too seriously.
Marketing and Sales
Although Marketing & Sales are traditionally viewed as slightly separate disciplines, this program takes the approach that everything that company does is Marketing and every person is a Sales Person. It is a challenging program and not always successful, because it depends very much on how much the management is prepared to involve the entire organization in realigning itself to the customer's point of view and fostering collaboration between departments. This program is more effectively combined with a Communications program to design effective ways of intradepartmental communication.
Financial Modeling and Business Planning
This program is better suited to small companies and startups. It is a strategic program, but focusing on hard data, the financial and other figures, and looking at the business from a very concrete point of view. Helping to devise practical financial models (that lead on to budget and cash flow forecasts) and to review one's market and business plans in the light of the numbers.
Missions and Goals
Business goals are often also personal goals, usually of the management. If you can align (or find) the people in the organization so that they are working towards achieving their own personal goals then the company as a whole has a better chance of success (and develops more effective communication as a natural outcome of this). Many people have no particular goals, other than enjoying the atmosphere at work, spending time with friends & family and living a comfortable life. Catering for these people can significantly improve the chances of corporate sustainability.
The first program focuses on personal and life goals (Life or Goal Mapping), another program focuses on the corporate goals and how to align this with the personal ones.
Time Management and Work/Life Balance
Actually this is a program to do with goals. But with a focus on how to manage your mental and physical energies in effective ways, so that you are working towards your goals and not wasting your efforts on 'busy' activities. The principles I discuss are quite radical - the idea of a 5-hour day, scheduling your personal time before your work time, etc.
Stephen Covey's very successful program. I don't give a workshop entitled Seven Habits, per se, but I weave in his principles into my other programs on goals, life balance, effective communication/negotiation/sales and leadership.