Leadership, management and productivity

Leadership with management and how they feed productivity

Are you a great leader or a great manager or a bit of both?  If so, does your team always find the most productive way of meeting your clients needs?

Productivity isn’t just the most recent buzz word.  It is a state of mind our country really needs to embrace.  The Be the Business event in the Houses of Parliament last week brought together business leaders and politicians to explore ways of increasing the UKs comparative productivity.  MP Andrew Griffith hosted the parliamentary reception and Tony Danker spoke very eloquently on the opportunity for government to back business productivity and level up the opportunity for every business to improve their performance.

Great opportunity to discuss these issues with leaders like Paula Carter, and Jenny Cridland

Leaders have followers, managers have a team

What strikes me about good leaders is that they are surrounded by people who genuinely value their plans and clearly understand them.  What really hits me about great leaders is that people are willing to follow them.  Sometimes without clearly understanding their plans.  Good leaders manage people and are truly great managers.  Great leaders inspire people.  They pass on the day to day management of their people to managers who really understand what is needed from the team.

Good managers achieve everything that is asked of them by their leaders.  But great managers achieve everything the leader wants before the leader asks them to do it.

Good management skills can be taught and with hard work they can be implemented in any team.  Great management skills only happen when a good manager works with a great leader.

A business led by a good leader and a good management team can become one of the most productive teams in its sector by adapting the best management techniques used in or around the sector.  The same business could be a class leader in productivity if it is led by a great leader who looks beyond their sector and enables their management team to create world beating systems.

Leaders are Readers (thanks Barry)

The big question many of us find is how do we develop great managers and how do great leaders grow? Some of the answers to these questions came out at a dinner debate for business organised by Joanne Holborn of Baines Wilson and ourselves (Thomas Jardine & Co).   We’re not going to go into too much detail here about what was a fascinating night. The dinner was based around a discussion on Cumbria as “the place to work”.

One of the recurring themes was how do we create great managers.  The other which was fascinating was how do we as business leaders become the best leaders we can be?  The main answer to this was always be prepared to learn and get out and see what is not familiar.  As Barry Leahey succinctly put it leaders are readers.  Leaders always want to learn more.  Great leaders are driven to continuous improvement.

Lets drive great leadership and great managers

Thomas Jardine & Co are really pleased to be working with Be the Business who are driving the productivity challenge forward.  We are also immensely proud to be asked to work with the likes of Baines Wilson who believe and directly invest in their place.

The future of leadership and management in Cumbria is looking great.  The positive, realistic energy in the room for both the Be the Business Parliamentary Reception and Cumbrian Dinner Debate was palpable.  Let’s embrace the national and regional drive to create great leaders and managers .  Productivity thrives when a business has great leaders and great managers.

 

 

 


Next Generation Family Business : Finding your feet

Next generation : the theory

Site visits to successful family businesses such as the one organised by the IFB to Roberts Bakery really show the benefits good family businesses can bring to business operations. In theory shared family culture and values should lead to a smooth transition of leadership from one generation to another.  However in reality family dynamics are as complicated as those found in business leadership.  Combining the two does not simplify the situation.

This week I delivered a session on next generation family business to a group of enthusiastic  Lancaster University Masters Students .   Their questions really reminded me how complex these family business dynamics are.

Celebrating when things go right

The students questions were still ringing in my ears when my eldest pointed out we didn’t celebrate success enough.  He is right.  Like many growing businesses we tend to focus on the potholes on our journey rather than the beauty spots we pass.  That’s why I have really enjoyed my role as chair of the judges for the brilliant Northwest Family Business Awards.  Visiting the finalists and gathering the thoughts of our fellow judges has reinforced my belief in the value of family businesses from across the North West.  A huge well done to Sue Howorth and Dave Clarkson of the Family Business Network for organising this.

Finding your feet

So we know that the transition of leadership to the next generation is complicated.  We also know that done well next generational family businesses add huge value to their place.  Just look at the family businesses running farming, hospitality, manufacturing, food production and cafes in your area.  They are all dedicated to their business and their place and at some point they may look to pass their business onto the next generation.

To do this the next generation really needs to find their feet.  Each new generational business leader may have different needs. These could include gaining the confidence to replace the previous generation as leader. Or creating time to think about the future direction of the business. It could be finding a source of reliable answers to questions they may have on how to manage the transition in family business. Then it could be learning how to communicate with the family and the business as roles are changed.  Importantly the next generation need a supportive network of peers who are experiencing the similar business journeys to themselves.  Possibly most importantly they need a place where they can develop their leadership skills that will ensure the sustainability of their family business.

Offer of support

If you are reading this as a next generation family business member and you would like support with any of the issues raised please check out the Next Generation Family Business Event on the 17th March in Liverpool.  We (Thomas Jardine & Co) are really proud to be delivering this in partnership with Be the Business and the Family Business Network.

 

 

 


High streets, place , people and productivity

Future of the high street

High streets are changing. Our high streets should focus on the community needs rather on slightly modifying what we have always done. When faced with  a change in business circumstances ,Thomas Jardine & Co always use Strategyzers excellent Business Model Canvas.  This focuses our attention on end users rather on our portfolio of services and products.  In business life it is not a case of doing what you have always done.  It’s about  doing what your customer needs to get past their problems and improve their life.

We have to meet the needs of the community in a way that is economically sustainable for both the high street businesses and those businesses or organisations that support them. For this productivity is key.  Thomas Jardine & Co has a thing about productivity, Jacqui is an ambassador for Be the Business who are tasked with driving productivity up across the country.

The High Streets belong to a place

There is an extreme diversity in size and scope of our high streets (see Institute of Place Management). They can be servicing a small catchment area with mainly retail services. Or act as an anchor for a vast catchment area offering a wide variety of services. The place the high street is set in is not dictated by political boundaries. Carlisle for example has a catchment area that covers various counties and two countries.

High streets are a community of people

Our high streets are made up of businesses that serve the community that chooses to use them. Our community looks to both the high street businesses and the council to provide a place that meets their needs.  We often forget that a lot of the businesses and councils are made up of people who are part of the community.  Your high street future will be about true collaboration of all those involved from users to businesses to council and business support.

Productivity

The high street is based on service. Service industries such as retail , hospitality and food traditionally rely on a pool of lower paid workers.  So the rise of minimum wage has a disproportionate impact on businesses in that sector that continue to depend on low wage work force .  The problem the businesses have is that they are serviced based at a time when consumers are increasingly price conscious.  Those businesses that adopt technology can increase productivity. This allows them to upskill their workforce and still offer a degree of personal service. The excellent essays from the Carnegie UK Trust and RSA look at productivity in the UK. Productivity isn’t just about replacing low paid low productive jobs with high paid high productive jobs. It’s about creating an attitude to improving the future of the business and the worker. If business isn’t allowed to focus on this then the future of business and jobs is in jeopardy.

Productivity and the High Street

High Street food and hospitality businesses need more focused support from the ‘business support sector’. From a business perspective:

  • Businesses don’t always take up the available support funds because the route to these funds is far from transparent.  Do funders offer funding via the usual partners rather than talking to businesses ?
  • Businesses don’t always use the training support offered because the support can be ‘off the shelf’. Do trainers deliver what they always have rather than what the business needs ?
  • Business tend to spend a lot of time focusing on the potential impact of regulations which takes them away from focusing on business productivity.  With limited resource do regulators  rely on business keeping up with regulations rather than working with business to mitigate the risk the regulations is set to deal with?
  • If a business wants to expand it has to deal with a raft of different bodies.  Do councils with limited resources focus on delivering individual services (sometimes with conflicting recommendations) rather than offering a one stop solution for individual businesses?

No-one is right or wrong here.  That doesn’t matter.  If we don’t all work together to improve the productivity of the high street so that it can offer the services its communities need then we all lose.

Future High Street Fund

The governments new Future High Street Fund which is open to a 100 high streets across the country. It recognises that the private and public sector need to work together.

It is easy to say that collaboration between the public sector and private sector is key to the future of our high streets.  We are all part of the same community, where we work together and focus on the end user of our high street we will have a sustainable future. Where we don’t we can always blame each other.

 


What makes our place?

What makes place?

Working at Thomas Jardine & Co we find the understanding of what makes our place is key to successful collaboration.  Words are really important when we are talking about our place. “Our place” is such an emotive phrase.  It hints of a sense of belonging , of a shared cultural experience, a shared history BUT the phrase is so transient.  Place is all about collaborations, collaboration is what makes a place great BUT this collaboration has to have a focus.

Governing our place

Government constantly tries to define national and local place boundaries. Based in the City of Carlisle we are part of the County Cumbria and the Cumbrian LEP.  This is at the northern edge of the Northern Power House at the North of England.  Carlisle is also in the centre of Borderlands a Growth Deal covering 10% of the UK land mass cutting across the English/Scottish Borders.  We are just North of the Lake District ( a World Heritage Site) and at the Western End of Hadrians Wall (another World Heritage Site).

Tasting place

Slight differences in food help define place. Ian Gregg shared his story ( at a LA23 event) of how stotties were fundamental in the early growth of Greggs in the North East.  The food and drink  folk we work with in This is Cumbria all add magnificently to the flavour of our place. The food created by the terroir of a place is as important as the visible countryside. Realisation of this is  leading  to  local restaurants, cafes and wholesalers  stocking more locally sourced food so that we can experience local flavour.

Family Business and place

Jacqui’s work with family businesses based in our place always shows how important their pace is to their business.  A family businesses sense of place is rarely defined by government boundaries.  It is defined by the location of the family, its employees and its suppliers.  Often this starts with the town where the business was founded.  Then their place expands to the region it supplies  and onto the national market it is involved in.

The evolution of devolution

Political power in the UK is been devolved from the capital city. Not just to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but also to the regions.

At the second Borderlands conference we heard a variety of council leaders and council chief executives present the progress of Borderlands.  The collaboration of five counties across two countries with differing political leaderships has put our region on the devolution map. Carlisle, Cumbria and Northumbria are not just the northern most counties in the Northern Powerhouse.  They are now key partners in a region that covers 10% of the UK landmass. Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway are not just the southern most rural regions of Scotland.  They are now key partners in a region of 1.1 million residents.

Clearly collaboration across councils gives them more political power.  The City of Carlisle benefits from regional focus. Collaboration leads to Henri Murison support of the HS2 extension to Carlisle as part of the Northern Powerhouses transport strategy. Projects across Borderlands will get capital support from England and Scotland.  The support might not have come if the projects just had support from the location in which they were based.

Collaboration across place

The private sector is used to collaborating.  This is Cumbria was born from a group of like minded businesses. The Guild coworking space is built around people supporting each other.  Thomas Jardine & Co are working with Be the Business and others to improve productivity works because we all realise how important increasing productivity is to our places future.  At the Borderlands conference Peter Jackson of Northumbria County Council recognised the pivotal role of the private sector and each of the Borderlands councils will have an Economic Forum with two private sector members who will ensure this voice is heard.

Hopefully Borderlands will focus on collaborating to ensure our places infrastructure is fit for the 21st century.  It would be ideal if the private sector steers the public sector on the capital projects. Our needs of our individual place can sometimes clash with our needs of our regional place.  We all have to ensure we get the best fit for both these places.

We make our place

Wherever you are in the UK think about what makes your place.  It is not just the political boundaries that define us.  We often belong to more than one place.  This makes everyone’s place unique.  So don’t just rely on the public sector to define our place.  Collaborate and make your place better still.



Workshop for Next Generation family business leaders to take place in the North West (press release)

One of a kind next generation workshop

A one-of-a-kind workshop ‘The future’s here…it’s time to talk’, aimed at next generation and new generation family business leaders is set to launch in Lancashire on 6th November.

Development of concept

The concept behind the workshop was developed by a trio of organisations that work with and support family businesses in the region; Be the Business, Thomas Jardine & Co and The Family Business Network. Their aim for the event is to bring together a group of like-minded peers who are working within their family businesses, to share their experiences, address some of the commonplace challenges and take away some positive learnings that can ultimately help to improve business productivity and performance.

Comments from organisers

Workshop designer and facilitator, Jacqui Jackson of consulting firm, Thomas Jardine & Co, said, “We wanted to create an opportunity to support those next generation or new generation leaders of family businesses; those who are taking on the future. The theme centres around talking about the future of the business and about how to approach the necessary and important conversations that aren’t being held.”

Jacqui added, “There are many potential scenarios where working within a family business may put a next generation or new generation in a difficult or awkward situation. These can sometimes threaten their personal development as well as the potential future of the family business. Being able to discuss these scenarios in small peer groups offers numerous benefits, from shared understanding and learning to identifying a common support requirement or need which can be addressed”.

Co-organiser and founder of The Family Business Network, Sue Howorth, commented, “We have seen the needs of our next generation leaders become apparent through the running of our regional events. This has since led us to create ‘The Next Generation Network’ which aims to support next gens in family businesses on various levels. This workshop offers next gens from across the region an opportunity to connect with one another and be a source of support”.

Sheena McDermott, North West Programme Manager for Be the Business added, “We hope that the workshop will encourage the next generation to engage and collaborate from the very start of their leadership journeys, because we know that sharing learning in this way contributes towards increased productivity within businesses”.

The workshop will take place at Dunsters Farm in Bury on Wednesday 6th November. Joint Managing Director, Hannah Barlow, herself a next generation successor will share her thoughts around the transition into a family business.  There will also be the opportunity to have a tour of the Dunsters premises as part of the day.


Next Generation : family business future

Family Business Future: it’s down to you

There is only thing more personal than running a business and that is raising a family.  After your relationship with your partner, parenthood is the most personal relationship you will ever have.  As a parent you are responsible for the future of your children.  As a business owner you are responsible for the future of your business.  All clear so far?

As a family business owner you are responsible for the future of your family business as you navigate through internal and external changes.

The future of your family business relies on communications.  Family businesses have to face the challenges of ‘talking family’, ‘talking business’, ‘talking change’, ‘talking innovation’ and ‘talking leadership’.  These conversations have to get round all the assumptions people in families and people in businesses make. In family businesses these assumptions are either made by the parents or by the next generation.  So we all have to ask ourselves a series of questions to check our assumptions.

Questions from the parents perspective

Consider the role of the parent.  Here are just a few questions you may be facing:  As a parent, are you there to look after your child, to prepare them for the evils of the world to pass on your sagely knowledge?  As the family business owner/manager are you there to ensure the future of the family business? Or as a family business owner, are you there to allow your children to grow their wings and find their own place in the world?

You are probably facing a mixture of all of the above.  What you might be missing is who should be running the family business?  Is it time to pass on the leadership of the family business to the next generation? Or should the business be led by non family members?  Then the big question are you really ready to pass on leadership of the family business to your next generation?  Family business lives in the next generation ,will you genuinely allow them to take it in their direction?

Like all BIG questions we usually tend to avoid them.  We tend to ignore the inevitable fact that eventually we all have to be replaced.

Questions from the next generations perspective

Now consider the next generation. Here are just a few questions you may be facing: As the next generation you are  prepared for the modern world but do you have the skills and confidence to change or evolve the family business? Are you prepared to share your world view with the previous generation? As a potential family business owner/manager are you there to ensure the future of the family business ? Or as the next generation family business owner are you confident enough to allow the older generation to spread their wings and find their new place in the world outside of the family business?

You are probably facing a mixture of all of the above. What you might be missing is who should be running the family business? Is it time to pass on the leadership of the family business to you?  Or should the business be led by non family members?  Then the big question. Are you really ready to take on leadership of the family business from the previous generation? Will you genuinely allow them to support you as the business moves on?

Like all BIG questions we usually tend to avoid them.  We tend to ignore the inevitable fact that eventually our role as the next generation is to lead, transform, sell or close the family business.

Answers to the questions

Jacqui recently presented Thomas Jardine & Co’s family business story at the Fambiz Conference in Carlisle.  Whilst presenting her story she offered the audience a chance to consider what they would do at various points of generational hand over.  Jacqui is well experienced in supporting family businesses.  This includes the design and delivery of Lancaster University’s first transgenerational family business programme last year.  Jacqui is well aware that each transgenerational handover is a unique blend of family and business perspectives and interests.  There are common themes but no “cut and paste” solutions.

The best advice will always come from people who are walking in your shoes.  This is why peer group support is so important.  Jacqui is developing a solution with Be the Business and the Family Business Network.  This will bring generations together to find answers for themselves.  The first event from this partnership will be a ‘Next Generation Workshop‘ taking place on Wed 6 Nov at
Dunsters Farm in Bury.

This is your chance to talk about what you want to know about ‘communication’ in family business. You will explore with your ‘peers’….. those, who like you, are tackling or avoiding the elusive challenge of ‘talking family’, ‘talking business’, ‘talking change’, ‘talking innovation’, talking leadership and what really gets in the way of that highly productive conversation? What are all those assumptions doing there? What light can your peers shed on this challenge?

The future is bright if we let it live in the new generation.

If you are interested please get in touch.


Coworking and place

What is coworking , why is it so important for place?

The rise and potential fall of wework has made coworking something of a real estate buzz word.  Now real estate sees coworking  as the next fix replacing business hubs and maker spaces.  Large organisations like to associate themselves with the fluid creativity of the freelance entrepreneurs who skirt around the established businesses.  Cities and places want to build a reputation of forward thinking.  So they collaborate with large organisations and universities to build new hubs around the coworking tribes.  Coworking done right, is potentially a large part of the future of work in a place.  Because it is based on the happiness of the workers not the profitability of the real estate.

Changing face of work

The speed of change in the future of the type of work we do is staggering. McKinsey (2017)  estimate that 49 percent of the activities that people are paid to do in the global economy have the potential to be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technology.    Antony Slumbers predicts the fall of white collar workers will be as dramatic as the fall of agricultural labourers in the industrial revolution. This could make modern office blocks as redundant as water mills, steam engines and giant retail sheds.  The reason for this is that the workers who find a place in the new world order will be more valuable than the real estate left from the old world.

The GCUC 2019 conference highlighted that office space of the future will have to be designed to accommodate the businesses that are thriving rather than to benefit the landlords of a real estate of a different era.

Instants 4 pillars of workplace happiness

The Instant Group highlights the four pillars of workplace happiness as people, collaboration, flexible working and wellbeing.  All offices catering for businesses should be looking to meet these pillars.

The future face of coworking and place

The four pillars will be part of any design brief for coworking space.  The trick will be to balance these with the changing needs of the businesses within that space.  Dan Jackson at the Guild is doing just that.  Working with the wonderful guilders who inhabit this space he is co-designing a space for the future.  The Guild is all about people who are willing to collaborate with each other as and when the opportunity arises. Flexible working is part of the guilders life and we all have each others wellbeing at heart.

Coworking is not a new hippy trend for free lancers it is a state of being for the future of work.  If you want to know more give the Guild a shout.

 


Number 10, productivity & living with jeopardy

Number 10

In these changing times we are living with jeopardy. This week at number 10 Jacqui met Boris Johnson. He said that he believes for the country to thrive business must flourish. Thomas Jardine & Co are doing our bit by working closely with Be the Business and others to help UK Businesses to increase their productivity.

Why productivity is important

The UK is facing an unprecedented productivity crisis. If we don’t correct this, we will inevitably lose business to more productive countries. Fixing this means we cannot continue doing what we have always done, we must learn to adapt and change.

Black Farmer and jeopardy

Whilst Jacqui was meeting Boris in London, we heard a master class from Wilfred Emanuel-Jones (Black Farmer Ltd) in Penrith. Wilfred took us through his story of dealing with jeopardy which he defined as the risk of loss, harm or failure.  He emphasized that businesses who can thrive with jeopardy will lead the way in the future. The world is changing rapidly, constant change will be the norm. We will all have to learn to unlearn what we know and adapt to new realities.

We have seen the future is bright and met some jeopardy masters

Jacqui’s visit to number 10 was sandwiched within a two-day course Thomas Jardine & Co delivered on design thinking for a marvellous group of SMEs and entrepreneurs. This course was part of Lancaster University’s Cumbria Growth Hub. Over these two days we really saw the ability of business owners to grasp new concepts and square impossible circles. Good business owners by default are living with jeopardy. If government allows them to flourish, they will help solve the productivity challenge.

Jeopardy is all around us, embrace it! Let’s enable the people who live with it daily to help create a business environment that increases our productivity to a level that is the envy of the world.


Family business dimension in place

Family and place

Family owned firms are critical to your place.  Imaging loosing just under half your retailers, restaurants and hotels from your place. Statistics highlight the impact of family businesses on these sectors. According to the IFB 85% of all private businesses in the UK are family owned. 46% of all those employed in retail and wholesale work for family firms. Family owned hotel and restaurant businesses also account for 46% of the total employment in that sector.

How the ‘family business’ is lost in place consultations

It’s simple. Family businesses are involved in consultations but they are identified as retailers, hoteliers, restaurateurs or wholesalers.  Numerous academic papers acknowledge that family businesses do have an impact on regional planning.  They argue that the regional impact of family business may be down to a combination of the embeddedness of the family firm in their community and the role personal relationships play in local networks .

The academic argument on family business impact

Academic papers show that network roles and choices made by individuals within family businesses are different to those in non-family business.  This is because family firms have a social and emotional attachment to their place, which is referred to as ‘socioemotional wealth’.  Those with high socioemotional wealth tend have more positive impacts on their local community than non-family firms.  In some cases family firms may value socioemotional wealth over financial performance.  It should be noted that there is some evidence that this commitment to place, above financial reward, is not exclusive to family business. But family connection to place plays a key part in this decision .

The emphasis of public sector support for regional development on quantifiable measures such as GVA  can identify the impact family firms have on place.  However at times this may be overlooking the long term value of socioemotional wealth to that place.

Practical steps to ensure the longevity of family firms

Several organisations such as the Family Business Network and Family Business United celebrate the best of family businesses regionally and nationally.  There are also others who work on supporting the successful transfer of a family business from one generation to another. Be the Business offer various levels of support or family businesses and are working on  next generational family business workshops.  Thomas Jardine & Co work with the Family Business Network and Be the Business and would be happy to put you in touch with either of these great organisations.

Bring place and family closer together

When making plans for the business sector in your place, please do not just focus on the standard industrial sectors.  Consider the generational firms based in your place.  Support them and encourage the birth of new family businesses in your place.  Successful businesses that are based in a place will look after that place for generations to come.