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Creating What Matters this issue...
- An old lesson in success
- What I've been up to
- Time to revise our language
- Marketing tip
- 5 ways to support change in your business
- Upcoming: Big Profit Leaks

An old lesson in success

An old lesson in success

“That’s OK I can do that tomorrow”. That’s the reply I frequently got when I was Greek Operations Manager teaching young engineers their job. My role as fleet manager was to ensure our guests had the best holiday EVER so they would refer friends and family and come again and again themselves. And they did, with our company growing at 133% every year for the four years I worked there.

But we didn’t achieve that with the attitude of “I can do that tomorrow”. Yachts are hard task masters – quite unforgiving in fact! They didn’t understand if we already had two blocked toilets and save blowing a head gasket till we had the toilets fixed! No, in fact it seemed more likely that we would have a blown head gasket if we already had 2 toilets that had blocked.

And there’s a reason for that because the blown head gasket was a symptom of something else – it was a symptom of an attitude. An attitude I worked with my team to change. It wasn’t easy as at first they felt they had less time to play. And playing is fun when you’re in the yacht charter world. All those fabulous activities like diving, jet skiing and windsurfing to choose from.

So my crews had to learn to schedule the big rocks like preventative maintenance and get those tasks done. Over time they understood that working that way meant they had more time to play not less. They also learnt that they could schedule in the play time and it was interrupted less often with a blocked toilet or blown head gasket.

The relevance to business growth is that we often think we don’t have time to work ‘on’ the business and do the tasks that ensure it grows or meets other targets. We’re so busy unblocking the toilets or fighting the fires. And the only way to have the time for the big working on the business tasks (and the freedom a successfully running business gives you) is to choose. Choose to be committed to your vision. Choose how you spend your time.

Here are just 9 of the many blocks people put in the way of their success:
  1. “If I just keep doing what I do, one day it will all click and then I can take it easy”
  2. “People will recognise the quality of my service and refer all their friends”
  3. “I must do the same things that others in my sector do to be successful”
  4. “By just focusing on our costs and keeping them low our business will grow”
  5. “Our customers only want to deal with me and won’t deal with anyone else in our business.”
  6. “Bringing others into my business will force your prices up”
  7. “Marketing is expensive and doesn’t work in our sector”
  8. “Our customers like the way we do things and will go somewhere else if we change”
  9. “Customers are all focused on price”

Each of these statements is an opportunity for you to look at what might be keeping you stuck.

If you recognise yourself in one of them want to make some changes I have a solution you will absolutely love. Check out my free discovery session:

I want a solution

I’m suggesting you’ll love it because it is F R E E.  Plus it can be done over the phone so no travelling or wasted time.

What I've been up to

Another full and rewarding month!  I attended the launch of a book written by a friend, Shona Jennings, and my ex-husband Fatu Feu’u.  It is a courageous thing to do, to speak about your soul and your journey in public which is what this book is about.  Titled  ‘Fatu Feu’u on Life and Art’ it is a beautiful book and the launch was  a fun way to celebrate.

I had a great day on Saturday 29th September on the Spirit of New Zealand; the fabulous tall ship that is used as a youth development ship and spends over 300 days a year taking teens between 15 -19 on  5 or 10 day voyages.  You can learn more here .  One of the outcomes of this was I met some people that I could refer to a colleague of mine.  Just another reinforcement that everything counts in business.

I work with a group of dedicated people committed to – among other things – finding a different way to measure what’s important to New Zealanders.  Different to GDP that is.  You can learn more about that work here
This week I was referred to an article in Orion Magazine which whilst very long, is a great explanation of GDP is a mis-measure of all things.  You can read that article here

Time to revise our language

I’ve noticed the increased use of this term ‘sustainable’ in marketing, promotional material and advertising (one of the reasons for conducting my survey).  No wonder people are confused!  When a business that is clearly unsustainable because it is using up precious non-replaceable minerals, promotes itself as ‘green’ by using eco paper bags, we get confused.  And it might be quite natural to think that the whole green thing is just a marketing gimmick.
At the bottom right corner of the newsletter is a quick revision (with thanks and a nod to Prince Charles who has also spoken about this!)

1. "Sustainable" means "living on the planet as if we intend to stay here", a definition taken from Jonathan Porritt.
If we intend to stay we need to make sure that we don’t use up the resources we need for survival.  I’m talking about clean air, fresh water, the soil we use to grow our good, the timber and steel we use to build our homes and offices.  As well as the minerals that make our phones and computers work.  This means (among other things, I know I’m simplifying here) being responsible for our products throughout their life cycle and ensuring everything is able to be re-used in some form.
 It doesn't mean "increasing" or "more".   However businesses that are operating as if we intend to stay here do need to grow and get more clients/customers!   That’s what I help businesses do.

2. "Resilience" means 'rethinking assumptions about infrastructure and systems to lead to a sustainable, low-carbon economy, in the light of energy precariousness", a definition from Rob Hopkins.
It isn't a nice cuddly euphemism for "sustainable" or "more" either.   It also means becoming able to adapt quickly, be flexible and able to cope with change, even look for the opportunities it brings.

Thanks to my friend Chris Le Breton who alerted me to the speech by Prince Charles.

Marketing tip

Remember that even large corporations and workers in large corporations are people.  People make decisions based on their values.  Basically we all make decisions on an emotional (Values) level and then justify that decision.  Even at the top levels of business.  The higher up you are the more you need to reasons to justify your decision, that’s all.   So in marketing we need to understand both what the emotional drivers are and what they need to know to justify the decision they have usually already made.

3 great questions to ask are:
  1. What is really important to this person?
  2. Why is that important to them?  i.e. what else will they be able to do , achieve, have or be as a result?
  3. How will they feel as result of the doing, achieving, having or being?
Bridget Marsh, Creating What Matters

a word from Bridget

I want to say how grateful I have been this last week for everyone who took the time to answer my survey on what is understood by the term sustainable business.  The answers have been just awesome. 

John said to me this morning, “I’m not sure the answer was what you were looking for”.  The truth is I’m not looking for ‘an’ answer.  I want to know what you think. 

So if you haven’t already done it but have two minutes to answer two questions the link is sustainability survey.

"Be quiet, still and solitary. And the world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet."


Upcoming Workshop

This ‘workshop’ has become a course!  I discovered that there was simply too much material to fit into one workshop.  So I have created an 8 week course that will begin on October 25.

Stopping the profit leaks really means creating more profit! 

When I begin working with a client what often becomes really clear is that they have had their focus on one aspect of the business, say marketing for example, whilst they have BIG PROFIT LEAKS happening in other areas.  So it’s like turning the tap on to get more water out of the hose and not fixing the leaks so the result is....Little or no more water comes out the end!

I will be emailing about this next week with a one time special offer to create more profit in your business in the 8 weeks before Christmas so you can take your summer break with an easier mind.

I invite you to take a look at this programme and see if it is something you’d be interested in by clicking here.

5 Ways to Support Change in your Business

I read this great blog this week.  It was published on by Scot Holliday and you can read it here

But to save you going there here is a summary:
1.  Talk to your people – you don’t make money in a business, your people make money for your business through the relationships they create.  Align everyone in your business with your goals and objectives.
2.  Keep talking to your people – review, check understanding and engagement.  Saying it once or twice is not enough.
3.  Talk to other people – stakeholders including investors, customers, suppliers etc  and advisory boards
4.  Listen to people  - employee chatter, the coffee pot conversations
5.  Engage other people – become a leader and engage others as leaders

I really love this.   It's so simple.  I’ve been asking for a tool (as per my last newsletter) thinking we need something that does not already exist.   And the tool is stories.  Humans are story making creatures.  Most of us don’t live in the world, we actually live in the story we tell ourselves about the world.  For example when I’m headed for a meeting in traffic, I don’t just drive in the traffic I might tell myself that the traffic is very heavy and I’ll be late, or the traffic is very light and I’ll be early and could have left a bit later.  Or if the traffic is normal I might be telling myself the story about what is going to happening the meeting, or what I will tell the person about something else that happened.

In each of these cases I am creating a picture in my mind. That’s what stories do.  So the tool we need to create the change we want to see in our business, in our relationships or indeed in the world is stories.  And if we can make those stories about what we want, the world we are trying to create we will engage others in our ideas.

If you don’t believe how powerful these stories are give yourself 5 minutes to think about (reflect on) your thinking and notice what your thoughts are.

Christopher Le Breton

Congratulations to HRH The Prince of Wales for talking sense about social justice, environmental sustainability and resilience:

Prince Charles has sensible words for all of us who live on Earth. He argues powerfully for intensifying sustainability, which many in elected politics seem to misunderstand, deliberately or not, to mean sustainable economic growth intensification. 


1. "Sustainable" mean "living on the planet as if we intended to stay here", a definition taken from Jonathan Porritt. It doesn't mean "increasing" or "more". 
2. "Resilience" means 'rethinking assumptions about infrastructure and systems to lead to a more sustainable, low-carbon economy, in the light of energy precariousness", a definition from Rob Hopkins in The Transition Companion. It isn't a nice cuddly euphemism for "sustainable" or "more" either. 

Prince Charles goes onto refer to permaculture without saying the "p-word" - mimicking nature, not separating conservation from farming itself, and praises the legendary Allan Savory for his pioneering work in Africa at the forefront of conservation and land management. Prince Charles is at the forefront still. Listen to what he has to say

That’s it from me.  Have a really wonderful October.  I am going to.  I’m off on my 90 day break to re-charge my batteries.

Creating What Matters
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