How to be a Better Leader

It’s been said that all other business elements lie dormant without a good leader. Strong leaders can help an organization achieve business goals and maximize productivity. On the other hand, weak leadership can hurt productivity and hurt the business.

People have long tried to define what it means to be a leader. For everyone that’s attempted, there are just as many answers. Defining good leadership is a nearly impossible task. The definition is not straightforward or all-inclusive. Not every leader exhibits the same characteristics in the same way. However, there are many types of successful leaders.

So, how are you to know if your business leadership is the best that it can be? Top performing companies must have a firm grip on leading their teams to success. Who better to ask than employees working under the leadership of some of the most successful businesses in today’s global market? Business Insider talked to some of those employees. From their responses, we’ve narrowed down some of the most vital leadership qualities straight from the source.

 

1. Show empathy

Being an empathetic leader means relating to others and understanding their point of view. This leadership style shows a genuine interest in employees. Here, leaders are aware of their employees’ lives, the challenges they face, and their overall feelings.

Some specific ways to show empathy include:

  • being an active listener,
  • getting to know employees,
  • and considering their perspectives.

Empathy has long been identified as a leadership quality, but new research suggests that being an empathetic leader is more important than ever. It can affect everything from innovation to retention. Data suggests the effects of the pandemic have caused multiple kinds of stress. Therefore, empathy is a top consideration for successful leaders.

 Eric Yuan, the CEO of the super successful Zoom Video Communications, is recognized by his employees to be a standout, empathetic leader.

Employee quote about the leadership team: “Very caring about work/home balance, and everyone in the organization wants to help achieve that balance.”

  

2. Exchange feedback

Everyone can benefit from feedback now and then. Nobody has all the answers. Feedback in leadership is crucial because it fosters open dialogue and communication. It also enhances a leader’s credibility. However, it doesn’t just work one way. Great leaders know how to accept and give constructive feedback. As a leader, you can use feedback to directly impact your company’s purpose and direction. If your employees know that you willingly accept feedback, they will most likely accept your feedback openly as well. This ability to give and take feedback can be transformative for your leadership.

 Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple’s empire, is well known for asking for and accepting employee feedback. He uses it to guide his company leadership.

 

Employee quote on the company’s leadership: “They are always looking for feedback on how to improve and often institute changes based upon feedback. No other company that I have ever worked for has done this same thing with such success.”

 

3. Communicate openly

Regardless of the size of the organization, individuals, teams, and leaders must feel connected. Being an effective communicator requires strong speaking and listening skills. It’s important to speak to your employees in a straightforward and open way. This allows for a clear understanding of goals and expectations. Listening ensures that communication isn’t just a one-way conversation. Strong leaders understand that developing open channels of communication builds rapport between leaders and employees.

Steve Hare, CEO of management software company Sage, is appreciated by his employees for his ability to communicate effectively.

Employee quote on the company’s leadership: “I have never seen such clear communication and alignment from leadership on goals and direction.”

 

4. Set clear goals

 An effective leader needs to know how to:

  • openly communicate company goals,
  • demonstrate what they are,
  • make valid plans to achieve them,
  • and set appropriate deadlines.

Your team will have a complete understanding of expectations if you define your goal clearly. When your team sees the whole picture, it’s much more likely that they stay motivated to move toward that goal.

The American software company, Adobe Inc., is credited for establishing a goal-oriented environment.

Employee quote about the leadership team: “I love that our leadership sets clear goals and is active in ensuring that their team follows through in creating objectives that align to them.”

 

5. Create a happy workplace

 Happiness has a ripple effect. It ultimately leads to behaviors that lead to future success. When a happy leader feels good about themselves, it also gives others permission to feel good about themselves. More satisfied employees work harder. They also work better in teams, and are generally more productive.

 Wayne Peacock, CEO of USAA, understands the dynamic between happy employees and customers. The company enjoys a 96% member retention rate.

 Employee quote on the company’s leadership: “They understand that happy workers provide the best service to our customers.”

 

Learn to be a Great Leader with the Help of Azul B2B

As you can see, it’s difficult to pin down what great leadership is. It’s a culmination of many qualities that come together to make an outstanding leader.  Although some individuals are naturally inclined to have good leadership skills, it is something anyone can learn and expand upon. No matter your leadership level, there is always room for growth and improvement.

You can design leadership development practices any time you want. If you need ideas or want a jumpstart, reach out to a professional leadership development provider, like the expert team at Azul B2B. We understand the complexity of today’s business environment. Azul B2b specializes in navigating leaders through some of today’s biggest challenges.

We offer leadership training based on core skills that set good leaders apart. Interest in and commitment to ongoing learning and development as a leader can be very fulfilling. With practice, leadership can be learned. Over time, it will become unconscious and automatic. Hard work, dedication, and a strategic plan to strengthen your leadership abilities can lead your team to new heights of success.

 

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How a CEO Can Lead Their Company Through a Turnaround

When times are tough in an organization, a CEO needs to help get the company back on track, fast. A CEO-led business transformation will take an intelligent strategy and passion for following through. He/she takes the lead in making the necessary changes to bring an organization back from the brink of failure. Azul B2B is here to tell you what to look for in a “turnaround CEO.” You’ll learn how to ensure that this leader can reinvent your business and give it new life. Our team of B2B experts is passionate about helping your business thrive. We’d love nothing more than to coach you through the process of managing a CEO transition aimed at rejuvenating your business brand.

Assessing the Health of your Company

Business change is inevitable, and refusing to acknowledge, accept, and adapt when change happens is a recipe disaster. The good news is that this won’t happen overnight. There will be indicators that can help you gauge your company’s health so that you can anticipate, prepare for, and strategically plan for a reverse course of action. CEOs should be especially mindful of environmental factors that can negatively or positively impact business.

Internal Factors

These are events that occur within an organization that are generally easier to control than external factors.

  • Management changes: Managers are responsible for overseeing other parts of the internal environment, so their neglect can have a direct impact on the business.
  • Employee morale: Internal politics and conflicts can destroy even a talented and capable company.
  • Cultural changes: This typically flows from the top down. A company that emphasizes collaboration and teamwork performs differently than one where employees compete with one another.
  • Financial changes or issues: If your cash resources are too limited, you have less flexibility to grow and expand your business.

External Factors

These are events that occur outside the organization that are harder to predict and control. Because of their unpredictability, external factors can be especially dangerous for an organization. They are hard to prepare for and often catch a company off guard.

  • Changes to the economy: Even a well-run business may not be able to survive in a bad economy.
  • Threats from the competition: Whether you’re just starting out or established, there will always be competitors fighting to take away from your business.
  • Political factors and government regulations: Changes in government policy can have a huge effect on your business. A classic example of this is the tobacco industry in the 1950s.
  • The industry itself: Supplies have a major impact on your costs, which in turn affects your customers.

Characteristics of a Turnaround CEO

For a CEO transition to be effective, certain character traits will distinguish the best-qualified person to take on this leadership role. A CEO transition will require intelligent decision-making using unconventional and bold methods. To orient themselves to all that a turnaround mindset entails, a CEO must be able to manage and motivate people in times of extreme uncertainty and distress. They must also restore confidence and foster inspiration.

McKinley Advisors names the following characteristics as those that make a great turnaround CEO and leader:

 Prioritize People Above all Else

There will eventually be a breakdown if leaders cannot find a way to motivate staff. Leaders must remain highly attuned to the individual’s stamina and mental health. Additionally, they must acknowledge the emotional toll of the work at hand for everyone involved. Prioritizing the people vs. the work should be a philosophical leadership fundamental.

Reframe How the Board Functions

In times of company crisis, it isn’t logical to continue running the business as usual and expect a change to happen. One area where a business model will change to propel a business transformation may be in the power of decision making. This deals with where, when, and with whom company decisions are being made. Suppose a CEO is trusted to transform the company. In that case, there needs to be an understanding of when a CEO will make an executive decision on their own, and what constitutes a circumstance when the company board is advised before a decision is made.

Make Rapid, Strategic Decisions

 The typical timeline for decision-making is compressed from years to months in times of significant and rapid change. A CEO transformation requires quickly assessing conditions, anticipating the impact of a decision, and focusing on what’s working and eliminating what’s not. A CEO must be directive and strategic in all decision-making from start to finish.

Maintain Transparency and Consistency

Communication is critical for the turnaround CEO. Fostering transparency and limiting exclusivity is the way to go. Being straightforward and honest in communications will foster trust by limiting surprises. This can feel deceiving and divisive.

Prepare for the Potential Scenarios Ahead

If a company is well on its way to a successful business transformation, it’s important to account for the unexpected. Failing to acknowledge that all businesses will have seasons of decline and not having a strategic plan in place for when that happens will set the company back yet again.

Don’t Hesitate

A good turnaround CEO recognizes that the business is currently experiencing the worst-case scenario if their leadership is being utilized. If the company is down, there is only one real direction to go, and that is up. A CEO ready to lead a turnaround embraces risks and invests in the organization’s future. They don’t do this in a reckless way, but in a confident and focused way unaffected by fear of the risks.

 

AZUL B2B: Your Guide to CEO Turnaround

Top-performing CEOs can transform a sinking business into a profitable corporation by passionately believing that transformation is possible, exemplifying strong leadership skills and timely and strategic decision-making capabilities.

If your company is on the brink of failure and struggling to find the much-needed leadership of a turnaround CEO, get in touch with Azul B2B. Our qualified team will work with you to find the right solution for restoring life to your business. Let’s start your business transformation today.

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Why CEO Executive Coaching is Worth the Investment

Performance pressure on CEOs is higher than it’s ever been. Employee trust in their CEOs ability remains steadily low. Many feel that top executives are out of touch with the realities of the business. These executive challenges ultimately contribute to lost opportunities and earnings. Challenges like these have led to a rise in CEO executive coaching among even the most powerful CEOs in the world.

Executive coaches can have multiple roles for CEOs, including:

  • Coach
  • Educator
  • Mentor
  • Guide
  • Confidant
  • Challenger

Coaching, which was once looked upon with skepticism, is now embraced as the way to enrich the workplace with optimal leadership. CEO executive coaching has boomed as an industry for one reason. Those holding top leadership roles in the industry have discovered that it actually works! Executive coaching works so well, in fact, that approximately $1.5 billion was spent on this role just last year, and it’s estimated to be a $7 billion business globally, according to Executive+Co.

At Azul B2B, we know the benefits that executive coaching can provide your company. We’re here to help you evaluate and determine if your current business model needs some leadership coaching. As B2B experts, when it comes to CEO executive coaching, we can tell you what to look for, where to find it, and how to use it. Don’t get left behind— find out how supporting your CEOs with executive leadership coaching can propel your business to new heights.

 

What is Executive Coaching?

Executive coaching is a learning approach that helps business leaders such create self-awareness by providing training in leadership, communication, and motivation. More specifically, executive coaching is the process by which a current CEO, or top executive, is coached by a fellow or former executive that has had decades of experience leading a company, or companies, to great success. Whether one-on-one or through a team approach, coaching can take place for weeks, months, or years, making this a partnership that provides quite a unique relationship.

The purpose of executive coaching is to help your CEO become a better leader, make better decisions, and get better results. Executive coaching unlocks leaders’ potential to maximize their own performance. They increase the performance of the organization as a whole. How? The executives are trained to find the resources within themselves to make positive decisions for the good of the company.

How is CEO executive coaching most effective? It requires that you be comfortable and open enough to admit that there is at least one thing you could improve upon as a top leader in your business. If you are open to this, and your business is willing to invest in this resource, executive coaching can provide the key that your business model has been lacking.

 

What Executive Coaching is NOT

Despite increasing evidence of the benefits of executive coaching, according to Harvard Business Review, nearly two-thirds of CEOs report that they do not receive any outside leadership advice. Of that group, 80% of CEOs say that they would be open to advice and suggestions on ways they can improve business by facilitating better team engagement.

So why do some companies still hesitate to provide executive coaching to their CEOs?

Perhaps the reason has to do with the common misconceptions around executive coaching. Years ago, companies would “coach” employees who were perceived to have a problem or needed fixing. This obviously created a stigma attached to the concept that coaching meant remediation.

This is far from the case. No matter how experienced we are, we all can use someone to help us see leadership traits and situations from a different perspective. Take elite athletes as an example. They don’t drop their coaches when they reach peak performance. Athletes continue to lean on and trust in the coaching that has gotten them to where they are. Why? Because continual growth is the sure way to maintain greatness! The same rule applies to CEOs. Executive coaching is a way to help even the most successful CEOs be even more effective. There will always be continuous opportunities for learning and development.

 

How Executive Coaching Benefits CEOs

CEO executive coaching allows for a business mentor who can help you critically think through decisions. They also offer fresh perspectives and insights. When you’re so close to the top, your business vision is sometimes blurred. A coach can help identify your biggest blind spots. Coaches support you with practical advice and resources that you need to make more informed decisions.

A coach is also a source of support and encouragement. Many executive coaches were also successful business owners or CEOs themselves. Therefore, they can share their experience with you, giving you practical advice with tried-and-true methods for success.

With the rate of success that executive coaching has on business productivity, it’s no surprise that 79% of CEOs say it was their idea to receive coaching.

Here are five reasons that all CEOs need (and want) executive coaching:

1. Learn How to be an Effective Leader

Leadership doesn’t just happen from being in a company or industry for a long time. It’s a privilege and responsibility that helps establish the culture your brand operates from. Therefore, CEOs must learn and exemplify leadership on a regular basis.

2. Gain a Competitive Advantage in Your Industry

Executive coaching is a proactive measure that an individual invests in. CEOs will gain an edge in dealing with leadership challenges, unanticipated obstacles, and feel more confident in operating in a complicated environment.

3. Increased Emotional Intelligence and Self-Awareness

Coaching improves a leader’s ability to see that vulnerability and authenticity play a role in leadership. When he/she is able to communicate impactfully and recognize blind spots, the company’s culture also improves as a result. 

4. Learning to Trust Your Team

Perhaps one of the toughest skills for an employee to master is learning to trust others to contribute to the group’s overall success. Being solely responsible for wins and losses carries a lot of pressure. Learning to delegate and trust your team are some ways to alleviate this.

5. Development of Strategic Thinking Skills

Your decision-making confidence will grow when you have a close mentor to help evaluate your decisions from every angle. With enough practice, you will learn to move from a reactive to a proactive approach in your decision-making.

Executive Coaching Starts with Azul B2B

Whether you are a business owner seeking coaching for your employees, or an individual in a leadership position looking to maximize your potential, Azul B2B is your expert resource. Our team believes that professional leaders who want to maximize their business goals through effective leadership capabilities should find an executive coach that fits those needs. We can help you do that. Find out more about how executive coaching can help your CEO become the business leader your company depends on.

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Does Your Business Need an Advisory Board or a Board of Directors?

Both an advisory board and board of directors exist for the same main reason: to help the company or organization succeed. So, if they both exist for the same fundamental reason, then why the need for two different titles?

What’s the difference, and how will you know which one will help your business thrive?

It comes down to two words – directors and advisors. One directs and governs the organization based on legal responsibilities. The other is an informal group of advice experts. They are chosen by the company to guide and advise the board of directors without any legal or financial liability to the company. Both types of boards are useful but serve different purposes.

Azul B2B is the expert business assistant, here to help you decide what your business could benefit from. We’ll help you examine an advisory board vs. a board of directors by comparing the impact of developing one, or both, for your business. Let us help you make the right business decision and jumpstart your leadership’s productivity today.

Defining a Board of Directors

A board of directors is a group of individuals who are legally responsible for the governance, control, direction, and management of an organization. That’s a lot of pressure for one group. In today’s competitive business environment, organizations often seek outside expertise to help the company grow and prosper.

Traditionally, companies seeking external advice invite advisors to join their board of directors. However, the formality, liability, and cost of a board of directors make an informal, budget-friendly alternative, an advisory board, a popular choice.

 Defining an Advisory Board

An advisory board is a team of people appointed to guide, counsel, and advise a company’s business leaders.

Members are appointed based on:

  • Specialized knowledge,
  • Strategic advice,
  • Or technical expertise

They are counted on to help solve a range of difficult challenges the company may be facing.

Businesses of all sizes can benefit from developing their own team of external advisors. A board of advisors is particularly useful in start-up and small companies, providing fresh ideas and unique perspectives to a growing organization.

Similarities between Board of Directors and Advisory Board

An advisory board may look very similar to the board of directors in some respects.

For example, some advisory boards:

  • Attend all board meetings,
  • Participate in discussions on important matters of the board of directors,
  • And are composed of important stakeholders such as past directors and valuable donors.

In some situations, involvement in an advisory board may be the precursor to someday joining the board of directors. They to help fill in gaps of knowledge and break into new markets and industries.

 

Key Differences Between Board of Directors and Advisory Boards

Fiduciary Responsibilities

The fiduciary duty of a board of directors requires it to place the needs of the organization and its shareholders before the needs of its employees. Boards have all the power and authority for decision-making. They also have all the responsibility for the organization. Board directors can be removed collectively or individually. Some instances for removal include not giving due diligence to their responsibilities, or for neglecting them altogether.

A board of advisors has no such duty to the company. The advisory board’s top priority is directing, mentoring, and advising the CEO and management team. Additionally, an advisory board has no fiduciary responsibilities or liabilities.

 

Voting Rights

A board of directors has voting rights and the power to make changes in the organization. Members of the board of directors as a governing body vote upon major decisions. They even have the power to remove the CEO or make alterations in the executive management team.

On the other hand, advisory board members have no voting rights and  are strictly consultative in nature. The board of directors team has no obligation to take the advice of their advisory board.

Nature of Advice

Advice given by an advisory board tends to be more specific to the actual changes happening in the company on an operational level. There is more active participation from board members on an advisory board, and there is a free flow of information and discussion.

The board of directors’ advice is more strategic and has a high-level focus. Shareholder value is a major consideration on the directory board and any decisions they make have a higher level of impact.

Expenses and Compensation

Board members often receive generous compensation because they have a fiduciary duty to the company. As a result, they can be held personally liable for mistakes. Therefore, securing or expanding a board of directors can be expensive, especially for smaller companies with limited means.

On the other hand, a board of advisors cannot be held liable for mistakes made in connection with their duties. Therefore, retaining an advisor requires less compensation. Members of an advisory board usually get paid through an equity interest in the company or through a small yearly stipend.

Easy to Create and Expand

A board of directors has legally defined responsibilities and is usually elected by the shareholders. They are also governed by the corporation’s bylaws. Therefore, the management team’s ability to create and expand its board of directors is restricted by law and corporate policy. In addition, directors are elected for established terms and may be difficult to remove.

An advisory board, on the other hand, is an informal group of hand-picked experts and advisors. It’s pretty easy to create, expand or decrease the size of an advisory board in order to meet the needs of the organization. Furthermore, members of a board of advisors can serve only as long as they are needed and can be easily replaced.

Clarifying Roles

There can be some confusion between the role of an advisory board and board of directors. This can happen as a result of situations where both groups are commonly referred to as “the board.” Additionally, the advisory board can start to act like the board of directors due to a lack of clarification or understanding about roles. So there are many reasons that both individuals on an advisory board and those on the board of directors should want written clarification about the advisory board’s role.

How to Choose Between the Two

Now that you have more information about each board team and the roles they play, you can evaluate the status and needs of your business. By aligning your company goals with what each board team has to offer, you can confidently make the best decision for your brand.

Both Board of Directors and Advisory boards are crucial to the success of an organization. Each has its own strengths and benefits. A board of directors can’t cover all the research and knowledge needed to help an organization. This is where advisory boards come to the rescue. By supplementing specific areas where the board requires expertise, advisory boards help leadership make better decisions and get more done.

Whether you are:

  • Exploring the start of a new team,
  • Realigning your company roles,
  • Or reinventing your advisory board or board of directors,

Azul B2B is here for all of your business needs!

Your success is our success and we look forward to working with you. Schedule a consultation call today.

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Is it Time for a Business Transformation?

In the business world, there are always opportunities for transformation and growth. As business leaders develop personally and professionally, they gradually learn to identify what parts of their business or team that need change. This ability to identify and understand when your company is in need of a change is an example of effective business leadership. As a result, this gives you the ability to effectively reach your long-term business goals.

 

What is a Business Transformation?

A business transformation is a change management strategy that can be defined as:

“Any shift, realignment, or fundamental change in business operations.”

The aim is to make changes to processes, people, or systems to better align the company with its business strategy and vision.

Any organizational change can be termed a business transformation.

Typical transformation projects can include:

  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Business process outsourcing
  • The introduction of shared service centers
  • Enterprise software
  • Initiatives motivated by sustainability requirements

A business transformation is different from simply making a change to business processes. On the contrary, it requires a holistic approach to change.

 

Types of Business Transformation

Operational: Make changes to the way you do things to make operations better, cheaper, or faster.

For example,

General Motors hired more than 10,000 IT professionals to replace outsourced contractors. This freed up time from IT support and maintenance work. It also lead to more innovation and new development. As a result, there was 1,000% more data and 10x more productivity.

 

Core Transformation: Moving to a fundamentally different way of operating.

For example,

Netflix shifted its business model from a mail DVD rental service to an online streaming service. With 109 million subscribers worldwide, this core transformation has helped create one of the most successful entertainment companies of all time.

 

Strategic: Changing the focus of the company.

For example,

In the 1990’s, Apple instituted a change of direction under Steve Jobs to focus on creating consumer products. The rest, as you know, is history.

 

How to Tell it’s Time for a Business Transformation

Great leaders understand the importance of transforming their businesses for long-term growth. However, knowing when change needs to happen isn’t always easy. In many cases, the key driver for the transformation will be external. As a result, this can be overlooked by leaders who fail to act.

Recognizing the opportunity for transformation and having a clear vision for the future state of the business is often the hardest part. By understanding the various triggers for transformation and being aware of them when they occur, you can optimize the success of your business transformation.

Here are a few things to look out for:

Technology Change

As technology advances, businesses are constantly looking for ways to leverage new opportunities to improve their business.

Shift in Competition

As new competitors enter the market, the general business landscape is changed. This can shake up the status quo! organizations that coexisted peacefully may now become competitors. On the other hand, other businesses may thrive and make leaps forward. Ultimately, this could threaten your market share.

Efficiency Drive

Businesses are always seeking faster, newer, and more efficient ways of working.

This can involve:

  • Assessing processes and removing duplicate activities
  • A change to organizational structure or teams
  • A digital transformation with the integration of new technology

 Cost Reduction

High costs or a need for cost savings may trigger a change within an organization to reduce outgoing spending.

 Lack of Business Growth

Current operations may not be allowing a company the time and resources to focus on innovation and growing the business.

 Merger, Acquisition, or Expansion

Transformation opportunities include:

  • Organic growth
  • Business mergers
  • Takeovers
  • Buying out another company

In addition, another way to expand your business is through diversification, whether it’s adding new products or opening operations in new geographic regions.

New Business Leadership

A new leadership team might want to make changes to the current organization. They could prefer their own ways of working or implement a new strategy/goal they want the business to focus on.

Low Customer Satisfaction

If current customers are not happy and retention rates are low, an organization may seek to identify ways to adapt their business so they are better able to meet customer needs.

Rising Customer Expectations

The need for business transformation may be driven by a need to meet increasing customer expectations. Responsiveness, speed, or customization are just a few of those examples.

Economic or Political Climate

Economic conditions impacting new policies or regulations that directly affect the business may trigger a need for change within an organization.

 

Business Transformation, Step by Step

  1.  Strategy

To implement change, an organization must have a vision of what they want their improved business to look like.

It should know:

  • What form the change should take
  • The objectives of the change
  • A vision that describes a better future

Start by:

  • Defining where the business is
  • Where it wants to be
  • And working to bridge the gap

 

  1. Establish Leadership

Appointing the right leaders to provide oversight and support for the transformation is very important. They will need to have the right experience and capability to deliver a successful transformation by inspiring teams to make changes happen.

 

  1. Planning and Scoping

Create a clear roadmap of the transformation in a detailed way.

This will include:

  • Objectives
  • Milestones
  • Scope
  • Timeframes
  • Budget
  • Workstreams

 

  1. Set-Up a Transformation Management Team

There are going to be changes to this roadmap along the way. For example, your leaders in each individual workstream will need to adapt when necessary to keep the transformation on track.

 

  1. Build Resources

This includes having the right people, in the right roles, at the right time. This may involve training for new roles, new hires, or a shift in role and responsibility for employees or processes.

 

  1. Execution

Business transformation is a journey that can last months or even years. Therefore, it will need to be re-assessed and re-evaluated regularly to ensure it’s still appropriate and adapted when necessary.

 

  1. Integration

The business transformation doesn’t end once the change has been put in place.  The goal is to transform in a way that the business cannot move back to how it was before. However, integrating new ways of working or new systems into the business takes time and can be tough.

 

Azul Knows Business Transformation

 Sometimes a business transformation is needed to survive, and other times it’s an opportunity for growth. Either way, it always requires a strong leader with the drive to help the business reach its full potential. Having an innovative business culture can be the make or break of a transformation process.

Transformation skills are not commonly on the hiring agenda. Chances are that you’re unlikely to have all the skills you need for a transformation, no matter how capable your people are.

In conclusion, Azul can be your business solution, providing the guidance and leadership you need. We can help your company navigate its business transformation and manage the changes needed to optimize your success. Schedule a consultation with us today!

 

 

Essentials of a Smart Decision-Making Process

There’s no way around it. Making decisions, both large and small, is critical to the success of a business. Decisions come from the need to solve a problem, or the need for a potential opportunity.

The core of the decision-making process is typically standard.

  1. Identify the goal
  2. Gather relevant and necessary information
  3. Weigh alternatives in order to make a decision 

Simple concept, right?

Unfortunately, as simple as it seems, many people overlook some of the critical steps that should be part of sound decision-making. As experts in the business, Azul Corporate Advisory is ready to assist you through your own decision-making process.

Benefits of Making Good Decisions

 1.      Good decisions last longer.

When decisions are made using a well-thought-out process, that decision rarely needs to be revisited or re-evaluated. Good decisions can sometimes even last the entire lifespan of an organization.

 2.      Good decisions weigh internal and external factors.

A good decision-maker considers the company holistically. More specifically, the decision shouldn’t be one that benefits one aspect of the business at the expense of another.

 3.      Good decisions eliminate conflicts of interest.

 With open communication and transparency throughout the decision-making process, questions or concerns after the fact become far less likely. The benefit of this process is to keep the organization focused and on a common track.

 4.      Good decisions actually work better overall.

 This may sound obvious, but consider the alternative…

A bad decision leaves a department or company further from their goal, failing to solve the initial problem. Make the right decision the first time, and the entire brand thrives!

 The 7 Steps of Making Sound Business Decisions

 Following a deliberate process with specific steps can help businesses make more informed decisions, ensure the choice and success of the right decision, and propel a business forward. The seven-step decision-making process is a popular model to follow given the current business climate.

Here is how the process flows, step by step.

Step 1: Identify the Decision

The first step in the process is to recognize that there is a decision to be made. Decisions result from an attempt to address a specific problem, need, or solution. Outline this goal decision as specifically as possible. Why is this decision critical for your business goals?

The decision-making process is a step-by-step process, and in order to keep focus, you will need to be able to support why you initially selected the goal necessitating a decision every step of the way. Clearly identifying the decision to be made is an essential step that paves the way for the next step.

 Step 2: Gather Information

Now that you know you have a decision to make, you need to gather information related to the decision. This is an important step. Effective decision-making requires information from many different resources. For example, an internal assessment can help to see where your organization has succeeded and failed. Additionally, seek information from external resources, including market research, studies, or evaluations from outside consultants.

Step 3: Identify Your Options

There are going to be many alternatives available for every decision to be made, because there is usually more than one option to consider when trying to meet a goal. You don’t need to identify absolutely every possible alternative, only the ones that could realistically work for the situation.

To help funnel the options down, eliminate the ones that aren’t feasible and ensure that the company can accomplish all the proposed alternatives (financially, legally, from a deadline or resource perspective, etc.).

 Step 4: Evaluate the Information

The next step is to compare all of the alternatives and weigh your options. This is when you take all of the different solutions you’ve come up with and analyze how they would address your initial problem or opportunity.

Identify potential pitfalls for each of your alternatives, and weigh those against the possible rewards. Begin to rank the alternatives, reflecting on how each option may resolve the problem or opportunity.

Depending on the decision, you might want to use specific tools or strategies to help weigh all of your options. Listing the pros and cons of your decision, for example, is a classic way to do this. Other ways to evaluate your options and make better decisions include creating a decision tree or matrix.

Step 5: Select Your Decision

Now it’s time! This is the step where you actually make THE decision. You’ve identified and clarified what decision needs to be made, gathered all relevant information, and developed and considered the potential paths to take. You are well equipped to choose your decision!

Don’t be surprised if the decision is not from only one source. Combining the best aspects of different alternatives can lead to a perfectly blended decision. Effective decision-making involves creative problem solving. Don’t limit yourself to choosing just one option while risking the benefits of another.

 Step 6: Take Action

You can feel confident knowing you’ve taken all the necessary steps before now to make the best decision possible. Once you commit to putting a specific solution in place, go all in – put the decision into action with conviction. Making a decision without taking action would stall the decision-making process.

It’s time to execute, implement, and go forward with the plan. Be direct in making an implementation plan so that your team is on the same page. A good decision with a weak execution would be a waste of time and energy. It gives you a false sense that a bad decision was made. In addition, have a system in place to measure, monitor, and evaluate performance over a specific timeframe.  This will be helpful in the next and final step.

Step 7: Review Your Decision

The review stage is the last step of the decision-making process. Here, you will take an honest look back at your decision. Did the specific outcome resolve the problem or opportunity you initially identified? If the outcome was achieved, you’ll want to reflect on what went right and any challenges or lessons learned along the way.

Even if you follow the steps of the decision-making process, there is still a chance that the outcome won’t be exactly what you had in mind. Business environments are constantly changing. There are many unknowns and what-ifs at play. Be ready to adapt your plan as necessary, or switch to another potential solution.  Learn from your mistakes as you begin the decision-making process all over again.

Let us Help Your Decision-Making Success

 Your success and the success of your company depend on you making the right decisions and learning from the wrong ones. Using these decision-making steps can help you make the most sound decision for your team.

Azul Corporate Advisory knows that empowering teams to make strategic decisions results in cohesion and strength. Schedule a complimentary consultation so we can lead you through the process each step of the way.

 

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Should Start-ups Hire a Fractional CEO?

Are you looking for cost-effective solutions for your start-up business? In today’s economy, companies are adapting. They are discovering new ways to grow their businesses while saving money.

Most start-up businesses start with great ideas, inspiration, or technology. The business owner is often talented but not always good at leading. Hiring a fractional CEO to join an executive team is essential. They are there to help with start-up plans and strategies. Their senior leadership is vital.

Why Is Fractional Hiring So Popular?

Fractional hiring is fast gaining traction. But, it is much more than a buzzword. Hiring fractional leaders is an intelligent strategy because companies are adapting to a Gig Economy. This way, companies can hire top expertise without breaking the bank. The idea is to hire a professional without making a full investment.

What to Expect in the Working World After COVID

COVID-19 has put a spanner in the works. The working landscape is not the same as it was before the pandemic. As lockdown eases and businesses plan to return to a “new normal,” many continue working remotely. This thought is even true after the pandemic has settled down. As a result, it might be difficult to know what the future holds for many small to medium enterprises.

Fractional employees are becoming more critical than ever for your business because they:

  • Are experts in their field
  • Can split their knowledge and time between many businesses
  • Will work for a single entity for a defined period

Why Would a Small Business Hire a Fractional CEO?

The positives of running a small business far outweigh the negative aspects. However, the downside has less talent to fill important shoes. Filling important roles for a small business is no different from those of a large corporate.

And, a growing enterprise becomes more difficult to maintain and more difficult to fill leadership roles. The reason for this is that a growing enterprise pressurizes existing leaders. Additionally, companies with 50 employees or fewer hire fractional executives for obvious, practical reasons. So, let’s take a look!

Benefits of Hiring a Fractional CEO

Here are the many benefits of hiring a fractional CEO for your start-up.

  1. They offer their professional services without the increase in overhead expenses.
  2. The role imparts expertise to a new or growing business and can help you reach your long-term goals.
  3. A fractional CEO understands the metrics key to successful early-stage start-ups.
  4. The executive talent marketplace is full of excellent talent, offering a leveraging thrust and significant experience for hundreds of start-ups.
  5. They will take care of all your marketing needs.
  6. They save on recruitment costs and time because there is no need to search for a qualified candidate and interview them. However, you must pay their monthly fee and get your work done.

Takeaways from Hiring a Fractional CEO

Lastly, here are takeaways from hiring a fractional CEO for your start-up.

  1. A fractional CEO brings experience to the table. Your start-up business will work with experienced individuals when hiring a fractional leader of this caliber.
  2. They scale up your start-up with the experience and skills and devise a plan and bring it to fruition.
  3. This role earns trust by investing in a professional who brings an element of respect and trust.
  4. They guide the business toward reaching its goals.
  5. They will lighten the load and allow your business to focus on what matters most.

Let Us Make A Difference To Your Start-Up

It is time to wave goodbye to mediocrity for good. We are here to show you a better way to run your business, and it’s time to work in the business and not just on the business. We help you take the next step to brilliance!

Now that you understand the enormous benefits of a fractional CEO, it is time to find one! Find Out More About Fractional Leadership Today. Let AZUL Make a Difference!

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7 Benefits of Investing in Fractional Leadership

Not all businesses are ready to commit to hiring a full-time leader.

They may:

  • Be a start-up business.
  • Not have the budget for the position.
  • Not have enough leadership work to justify the expense.

Whatever the reasons, the best solution is to outsource and hire a fractional leader. So, what is a fractional leader exactly? Well, a fractional leader is a cost-effective solution that adds value to a leadership team.

This role:

  • Is usually part-time
  • Is onboarded for short periods
  • Helps guide departmental operations
  • Is part of an executive team
  • Helps with finance, marketing, and sales

What Is Their Typical Schedule?

A fractional leader:

  • Works one to two days a week, and their tenure with their clients’ organizations is usually short-term. Their contract duration is dependent on the company culture and work ethic of the organization.
  • Is typically temporary, as this position is not permanent. This leader works for clients for a couple of months a year, and although this schedule is flexible, their contract duration is dependent on how much assistance their clients may need.
  • Spends more time with an organization in the beginning and tapers off over time.
  • Is hired to make necessary and, at times, complex changes. In addition, they implement effective processes and strategies and set foundations to reach goals for the future of a business.
  • Brings their leadership style to the party with a fresh take on setting goals.

Why Should We Hire a Fractional Leader?

Here are seven benefits for you to consider.

1. Develop Strategic Planning

All winning teams have one thing in common – a foolproof strategy!  They also have a leader that can strategize objectively. Without a strategic plan, businesses are likely to take on too many goals with adverse outcomes. A fractional leader provides vital insights to meet the goals of the business.

2. Execute Ideas

A business needs a leader to help execute groundbreaking ideas. A strategy on its own is no good and won’t elevate the business. Companies need people to do the work, and hiring a full-time leader often inhibits the ability of the team to get the job done.

Invest in your business by hiring a part-time fractional leader. This way, you can invest in the right tacticians to do the job for you.

3. Provide Financial Strategies

The financial and accounting staff are often too busy focusing on historical data to concentrate on financial planning. Hiring a financial expert as part of a management team will add a fresh perspective. A fractional leader focuses on understanding what the financial figures say and will bring finances into perspective.

4. Provide Invaluable Insights

A leader who has been through upturn and downturn periods will offer invaluable insights. Growth, acquisitions, and other pressure points in accountancy and finances need addressing. Having an objective point of view from a fractional leader leads organizations through challenges and results in a smoother transition for business owners.

5. Add Stability

Who will fill the shoes of the CFO of your company if there’s a gap? A fractional leader can fill open roles on a part-time basis; thereby, keeping the business functional. Fractional leaders can step in during interim periods and attend to the needs of the company immediately. A fractional leader can also assist with a new hiring a full-time leader. And if the organization realizes a full-time hire is no longer necessary, the fractional leader can move into the full-time role.

6. Help Grow Business

Many businesses don’t have the expertise to help their businesses grow and often lack leadership in special projects, such as:

  • Forecasting
  • Budgeting
  • Remodeling finances
  • Raising capital

Hiring a fractional leader can provide an expert who knows the business and can get projects done efficiently and on time.

7. Develop and Mentor Staff

Developing and mentoring internal staff can prove challenging. And as a result, many companies are using the services of a fractional leader to do the job. Smaller businesses often don’t have the internal knowledge to develop financial and accounting staff. Therefore, the expertise and experience of a fractional leader to mentor and train staff could prove beneficial.

AZUL Can Help Your Company

Azul helps companies just like yours turn complete disorder into brilliant results. With over 25 years of experience, we’ve been creating close relationships with our clients through consultancy, peer groups, and strategic connectionsContact us today! Soon you and your organization will make better decisions, become superior leaders, and achieve sterling results.

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What Is a Peer Advisory Board and How Does It Work?

There is no need for you to be all alone at the top. Joining a peer advisory board could be the perfect answer to your unique situation!

According to Colleen Ferray, in her book The Power of Many will always exceed the Power of One:

1. More and more business leaders are joining advisory boards.

They have become popular throughout the world. This is because they benefit business leaders and business professionals through shared knowledge.

2. Like-minded peers share experiences and expertise.

These are from an objective point of view. This could prove to be a win-win situation for all involved.

3. Everyone participating in a peer group shares information in a confidential environment.

Therefore, all relevant attendees are subjected to confidentiality agreements. In addition, most peer boards have between 6 and 8 independent leaders who a trusted advisor and facilitator oversee.

4. The meetings take place monthly and run from between 3 and 4 hours.

Each member is given an opportunity to unpack issues. The other members put forward ideas. Finally, collaborative solutions to issues that arise are suggested. The job of the facilitator is to ensure the smooth running of the meeting.

Why Joining an Advisory Board is a Good Idea!

Most SMEs do not look for advice from anyone when faced with challenges. That could be the reason why so many small businesses fail within their first 18 months. Smart solutions to business challenges are key.

Peer advisory boards are there to give a helping hand! They give advice with no hidden agendas. But, oftentimes, the feedback you get from family, friends, or employees is far too subjective tainted.

Thinking Big by Surrounding Yourself With the Right People Is Key

Surround yourself with a group of successful people. Think big by being in the company of diverse individuals with an assortment of big thinkers with a wide range of experience will result in creative solutions. These are answers to a range of challenges you might be facing.

Nothing Beats the Benefits of Belonging to a Peer Advisory Board

Many entrepreneurs and business leaders have found success through the collective knowledge of peer advisory groups. Nothing beats pressure from peers to keep you relevant! The main purpose of peer advisory boards is to support one another in a non-competitive environment.

Similar challenges are faced by like-minded professionals are solved at a high level. The idea of a peer group is not a complicated one—executives facing similar challenges in a professional environment offer one another advice.

A fresh perspective is tackled objectively. This will help peer members grow. Peer advisory boards help you remain accountable to your goals. The right support can help you reach new levels in business.

Four Common Myths About Peer Advisory Boards

Getting the right advice is crucial. Where do you go for advice when you are the leader of a business? Friends, family, and colleagues have a close relationship with you. They are usually not the right people to ask. Their opinions would be too personal.

Take advantage of peer advisory boards in your business decisions. This could be the difference between failure and success, which and extremely beneficial. It is time to dispel the myths about peer advisory boards forever. We tell it like it is!

1. Only Struggling Businesses Use Advisory Boards

There is no truth in this statement. Peer advisory boards are constantly on the lookout for talented, experienced individuals. These individuals run successful companies. The idea is to share their expertise with others on the board!

Success breeds success. Peer advisory board members meet regularly to plan and strategize. As a result, all members benefit from the strategic thinking of smaller, privately-owned business owners.

Business owners who recognize the potential of their business are a good fit. They will be in a strong position to impart their valuable knowledge to others in the group. This concept makes them an extremely valuable asset.

2. I Have a Successful Business, So I Know Everything About My Business

Outside views and fresh ideas from an advisory board will offer a fresh perspective on running your business. An advisory board can help you see your business in a new light. This is often attained through the support of peers.

It’s tough at the top, and business owners often feel lonely and isolated running their companies. A peer advisory board enables you to feel comfortable discussing your business objectively so that you receive a fair, honest, and unbiased opinion.

Discuss matters in a confidential, safe environment for invaluable feedback.

3. Peer Boards Have Nothing to Do with Networking

The reason behind belonging to a peer group is to get the unbiased support you won’t get anywhere else. In addition, nurturing valuable relationships with like-minded individuals can prove invaluable.

Discussing problems and similar issues with like-minded individuals could make a world of difference to your business. Your fellow board members are there to assist in growing your business, and they have the knowledge and expertise to help you on your journey. You would be hard-pressed to find this kind of unbiased support anywhere else.

4. No One Knows How My Business Works

You might think you are the only business facing certain challenges. But did you know that 75% of businesses face similar problems? This is regardless of the industry!

All businesses have common denominators, such as hiring and firing of staff, finances, sales, and marketing. Your peers have been there and gone through similar challenges, so tap into the knowledge pool of your peers and watch your business flourish.

Are You Ready to Achieve Great Results?

Azul Advisory is here to help businesses from across the board to achieve better results. We help leaders to reach their full potential in their personal and businesses lives. Lastly, by applying the right advice, strategies, and partnerships, it’s a win-win situation for everyone. So, contact us today!

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Finding the Perfect Fit: Is a Fractional CEO Necessary?

Fractional CEOs offer their professional services to organizations on a part-time and for-hire basis. The expertise they bring to the table is extensive, and their roles are vastly varied. Fractional executives have finely-honed skills based on a variety of disciplines and are dependent on their experience. As a result, small businesses and start-ups that have big plans for the future growth of their business can get value by using the services of a fractional CEO.

For start-ups that have ambitious plans to raise capital and get financing, a fractional CEO could make a difference. Likewise, businesses that are keen to bring their businesses to the next level will benefit from the services of a fractional executive.

Finding the perfect fractional CEO for a start-up, small or medium business is key. Their job is to ensure your business reaches goals put in place right from the start.

How Do I Find the Perfect Fit?

The idea of bringing in a professional for small businesses has gained popularity in the past one to two decades. In the past, it was unheard of for smaller enterprises to hire management to assist. This was usually the way big corporates operated.

The business world has changed exponentially and has become increasingly complex as the increase in virtual work has grown in leaps and bounds. As a result, it has created an entirely new dimension for CEOs. The result is that fractional CEOs are now finding a niche in servicing small to medium businesses right across the globe.

Small business and start-up CEOs are not your run-of-the-mill employees. Fractional CEOs work on a consulting and part-time basis and wear many hats, acting as strategic consultants.

Can a Fractional CEO Help My Start-Up?

There are definite benefits to hiring a fractional CEO for your start-up. Fractional CEOs usually offer their skills without increasing their overhead. A fractional CEO imparts their talents and abilities to your company on a short-term basis. The idea is to instill long-term goals and understand the key metrics to achieve your goals and attain success.

Using the expertise of CEOs not wanting to take up full-time positions or relocate makes sense. You can now get a foot in the door and a meaningful position in the Marketplace by hiring a professional.

Using the services of fractional managers is important as they impart experience and knowledge to your clients. The benefits are endless, and the expertise and experience of fractional CEOs will allow you to work and learn under different leadership styles.

What Are the Takeaways My Start-Up Will Get From Fractional Leadership?

Let’s take a look at five takeaways for businesses that hire a fractional CEO.

1. Fractional CEOs Bring Experience to a Fledgling Business

Your start-up will gain knowledge and a vast amount of experience from skilled leaders. Fractional managers have tackled numerous challenges through experience. They have learned to deal with challenges and problems in a professional manner.

2. Your Start-up Will Scale Up Faster

Enjoy the benefits of taking your business to the next level faster. Making plans and setting realistic goals and how to attain them are put in place. An experienced fractional CEO will professionally execute plans and goals.

3. Gaining Respect in the Marketplace

Fractional CEOs bring more than expertise to your business. Most enjoy a good reputation in the market. Their reliability and experience automatically brings an element of trust to the table. Their problem-solving outlook speaks volumes.

4. Fractional CEOs Add an Element of Practicality to Any Business

As a founding owner of a business, you simply cannot do everything yourself! This is where the expertise and assistance of a fractional CEO will benefit you and your enterprise. Limited resources might not offer sufficient room to grow. The professionalism adds to the atmosphere that will serve an authentic purpose.

5. Most Importantly – Guidance Plays a Huge Role

Fractional CEOs are there to guide and help you get up and running. You have goals to reach. They are attainable with the right tools in place. Gleaning the right set of skills and information from someone who has been there and done it is the way to move forward in a competitive world.

There’s a Certain Charm a Fractional CEO Brings to Your Business

Fractional or part-time CEOs are well-suited to mid-market organizations. They also bring a certain amount of charm to start-ups and small enterprises. This is the perfect solution for businesses that do not need full-time leaders or cannot afford one.

Your fractional CEO will guide you with their knowledge. Their strategic leadership qualities will guide a business to reach its goals. The skills sets of a fractional leader bring a certain feeling of accomplishment and expertise to any business.

Can a Fractional CEO Make a Difference?

Fractional CEOs might be part-time members of your team, yet they perform a full-time role. For example, they will unpack marketing opportunities, manage strategic marketing events of start-ups, and conduct marketing audits.

Using a fractional CEO to assist your start-up comes with no strings attached. Despite this, they play a valuable role in getting your businesses up and running. It is time to ditch the delays, relocations, and interviews. This is the best way for you to save both time and money.

Can My Start-up Business Have Two CEOs? What Are the Benefits?

There are pros and cons to having two CEOs in a start-up. The significant advantage of having two CEOs is that better decision-making processes are put in place. It is also easier to manage multiple product lines and services.

Being a first-time start-up business with no experience is challenging. You might find it hard to run a business, facing several challenges on your entrepreneurial journey. Sharing the load with another responsible leader is one of the reasons hiring a fractional CEO is such a great idea.

It will take much effort, time, and patience to make this work. But it is worth the effort.

Let Us Make A Difference To Your Start-Up

It is time to wave goodbye to mediocrity for good. We are here to show you a better way to run your business, and it’s time to work in the business and not just on the business. We help you take the next step to brilliance!

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