Detox your business & change your life

Aug 24, 2017 | Blog

My job never ceases to amaze me.

Only this week I walked into a business to be met by a frazzled owner who proceeded to offload all his woes and troubles for the next two and a half hours.

Afterwards, he certainly felt better for it – the question is does he have the real drive and commitment to do something about it?

Talking is easy; changing is not.

After further discussion I found that one of his team had lost them a substantial sum over the last year.  When I asked if he had anything about it (like squeezing said employee into the nearest cannon and lighting the fuse) – guess the answer?

That’s right – No!

I was told “Well, we phone up our HR advice line and they just tell you what you can’t do, not what you can.” So, in my usual subtle style, I retorted with, “so how does it feel seeing profit pour down the drain because you’re too scared to fire your most toxic asset?”  Silence followed as I watched his jaw hit the floor.

Why on earth do so many wonderful businesses and fantastic business owners put up with such unbelievable incompetence because they’re too worried about the legal ramifications of getting rid?

I encourage my clients to stand back, take a good hard look at their business and acknowledge what they have created.

I invite them to look at everything they need their business to do:

  1. To serve the customer
  2. To support the organisation’s infrastructure and talent
  3. To plan for growth.

In almost all cases, point 3 is an afterthought because the owner is too busy ordering paperclips, dealing with the VAT and generally doing the things they hate.

My approach is to work with them to visualise their business on three bits of paper representing each of the 3 areas.

Once we have mapped out their full business, I encourage clients to then look into the future.  To take a view of where they are and how they need it to look so that they can achieve the outcomes they want, whatever they might be.  I then help the client visualise this in the form of a ‘Future Map’ then stand back and take another hard look at the map.

From this point we look at the roles, using common sense and knowledge to extract all the natural roles that the business needs to have in order to support what it wants to do.  Critically, what is the skill set the business needs to deliver this desired map? Only then is the owner allowed to mention specific staff.  Until then they have been banned from discussing individuals to allow us to identify what the business really needs in terms of roles and skills – and if someone needs to go, they go.

I worked through this process with a very well-known client in Edinburgh recently; this exercise revealed that more than a third of the client facing tasks had no one responsible for them. Fifteen months later and the client exceeded budget for the first time, the head of the organisation is back doing exciting stuff and we have the right people sitting in the team doing the right things. The owner is quite simply a new and more confident person, the business has been detoxed of negative attitudes and fear and more importantly, for the staff, it is a calmer, happier and more harmonious place to work.

Now, for me, that’s something to get out of bed for.

Do you need to detox your business too?

Business strategy expert Gaynor McIntyre has over 20 years of consultancy and business coaching experience.  To discuss your business needs and goals and how our Strategic Planning service can help you call us on 01383 721421 or email

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