Business Growth Entrepreneur Leadership/Management Marketing Strategy Self limiting beliefs Talks Trust

Boldness in Business – Lord Karan Bilimoria, Founder and Chairman Cobra Beer

Boldness in Business  – Lord Karan Bilimoria, Founder and Chairman Cobra Beer
The first in the 2017 UWE Distinguished Address Series was from Lord Karan Bilimoria, Founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer on 25 January 2017.  The idea of Cobra beer evolved from combining the refreshment you get from lager with the smoothness of ale without leaving a bloated feeling; particularly good to accompany Indian food.  A simple big idea.  Cobra Beer now has won 88 gold medals. It is ingenious because it is less gaseous and is still a very fledgling beer of only 25 years! (Think Kronenbourg 1664!).  Not being a great lager/beer drinker myself, I tried it and I was pleasantly surprised.  Will be on the shopping list!
Lord Bilimoria’s lecture covered many aspects of being bold in business….. Here’s some of his thoughts on how to succeed.

Cobra Beer
Cobra Beer

How to succeed in business

  • You need boldness, creativity and restless innovation; boldness to adapt or die and the ability to persevere against all odds,  even when nobody thinks you stand a chance, including your own family.
  • You need vision “to aspire to and achieve against all odds with integrity”.
  • You need to Inspire people to become loyal brand champions
  • You need luck – when determination meets opportunity. Picture waves going past you – you might just catch one if you are lucky
  • Serendipity – seeing what everyone else sees but thinking what no one else has thought
  • Blue ocean thinking eg Cirque de Soleil – bringing together ancient art forms to create a new entertainment. Now a multi- million company
  • You need the guts to do something in the first place and stick with it when the going gets tough
  • Your business is not just what you do but how you do it.
  • Trust is key – Empires were built on trust
  • You need to be a great leader
  • The fear of pain is greater than the pleasure of gain
  • What do you do? play to win or play not to lose?  If you’re already at the top of your league for example, as was Alex Ferguson’s team, the biggest challenge was to get the team to play to win again
  • You need to deliver a unique and relevant consistent experience
  • You need to deliver extraordinary profits
  • Always hire for attitude rather than for skill
  • “Good judgement comes from experience ; experience comes from bad judgement”  attributed to Dr Kerr L White

To work in partnership and with others you need the same culture and the shared values of Integrity = wholeness . The former Archbishop of Canterbury,  once explained that “integrity” comes from the Latin word “integer” – the whole number,  thus “wholeness”. You cannot practise integrity unless you are whole.
Start your own foundation to give back to society.   Cobra Beer has a joint venture with Belu water where profits are donated to water aid to help transform lives through access to clean water and safe toilets in South Asia.

Leadership/Management Seth Godin

Leading your team – being crystal clear

Leading your team – The panda and the bicycle

Another great post from Seth Godin on leading your team and a good one to remember when you next meet someone with a closed mind….
“Many tribes gain in power and connection by finding their opposite, by identifying the choices that members won’t make.
“People like us don’t do things like that.”
So the vegan tribe obviously chooses to not eat meat. And during the key formative years, the Apple tribe wouldn’t deign to buy Microsoft products. The Amish build solidarity and define themselves by the machines they choose not to use, and for a long time, many professional photographers wouldn’t use digital cameras.
The smart choice is to understand that tribal identity is based on choices, not on facts, based on allegiances, not the intentional disregard of the rest of the world. Some sects of the motorcycle tribe don’t wear helments… not because they believe it’s safer (and thus denying the obvious) but because it’s a choice they want to make.
Shortly after Copernicus rocked the world by proving that the Earth goes around the Sun (and not vice versa), many religions condemned this insight, “people like us don’t believe things like that.”
The problem is this”: ……….
Read the article here
Coaching Leadership Leadership/Management

CEO Productivity – 6 Tips to Steal for Yourself

CEO Productivity – 6 Tips to Steal for Yourself

Lots of common sense suggestions here in this article by Nina Tamburello for The Daily Muse on 21/4/14 suggesting ideas for CEO Productivity Tips.

Juggling the leadership helm can stretch every resource when managing time, resources and multiple demands whilst keeping a clear head to make those important decisions and find time to work on the business instead of in the business.

CEO Productivity
CEO Productivity

1. Take breaks every 90 minutes

2. Make yourself uninterruptable sometimes

3. Manage your energy, not just your time

4. Don’t be a slave to email

5. Keep your emails short and sweet

6. Delegate, delegate, delegate

Check out the article here


Leadership Protocol – What Bosses Should Never Ask Employees to Do

Leadership Protocol – What Bosses Should Never Ask Employees to Do

Sometimes leadership protocol can be hard.

What can/should you be asking your team to do.  Leadership Protocol can be tricky.  What appears to be an excellent idea can turn sour, fall flat on its face, or have the very opposite effect you wanted.
Have you considered what you should and shouldn’t ever ask an employee to do? It can be a minefield.  Think about

Leadership Protocol
Leadership Protocol


  • ‘making’ employees feel they have to attend ‘social’ events – you know the sort of thing and the ‘guilt trip’ that an employee can feel if they’d prefer not to participate.  If you have remote workers consider this especially.   If it’s an after-work ‘drinks’ / get together, make sure it is ‘after work’ and not an hour after finishing.   Or maybe it could start half an hour before the end of your day?
  • Company fundraising schemes – fabulous and great but again not something to pressurize your staff about
  • What if you’ve asked someone to undertake a task and it’s not being done very well. Do you take it away and ask someone else to do it?
  • What about evaluation: self-evaluation or evaluating  peers – should you be asking your team to do this?
  • What about revealing the ‘one thing no-one else knows about you’ – team building stuff.  Does the leader have a right to ask an employee to do this? Is it really helpful?
  • Do you ‘lead by example’ and ‘roll up your sleeves’ if needed?

Remember, long after an employee has left your team, they will still remember how you made them ‘feel’.
A good article by Jeff Haden  – I’m sure  we can all relate to some of these issues .


Learning from the best – Three Things I’ve Learned From Warren Buffett

Learning from the best – Three Things I’ve Learned From Warren Buffett

Learning from our current ‘elder statesman’ in business is always good. Trying to understand a little of what makes them tick and how they have arrived at their success.
In this post, Bill Gates explains three things he’s learned from Warren Buffett over the years

  • it’s not just about investing – he looks for a company’s moat—its competitive advantage—and whether the moat is shrinking or growing.
  • use your platform – he’s not afraid to speak frankly and criticize things and is not afraid to take positions
  • know and understand the value of your time – and where and when to give of it

Read the article here

Leadership/Management Trust

Trust in Business – who needs it?

Trust in Business – who needs it?
was the title of an excellent lecture given by Ian Powell, Chairman and Senior Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as part of the Distinguished Executive Address Series at UWE in February which I attended along with Sue Stockley from 3 in Partnership Ltd.
It is clear that the current implications of trust across business, government, BBC, NHS, Church, even our food are huge. Society can’t function without trust, which takes decades to build and seconds to lose. Common understanding is founded on trust; it’s the most powerful asset.  Trust can impact throughout the company and is absolutely critical to the economy and prosperity. It can’t be bought or sold. You have to earn trust through consistent behaviour.  Small things set the tone – pretence won’t do – gaps will be exposed.
More and more actions must be accounted for to millions of people and behaviours need to demonstrate trust.  Businesses must display clear communication so as to eliminate any doubts.
At the 13th annual Edelman ‘Trust’ barometer meeting in Davos, having surveyed more than 31,000 respondents in 26 markets around the world, measuring their trust in institutions, industries and leaders, the results showed just 17% trusted in business, 16% in government and 22% in non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
This slide shares gives you the results for Trust in Financial Services and suggests 16 Attributes to build trust

And what about legal enforcements?  The UK has probably the highest regulations in international trading but this then sometimes comes ‘at a cost’.  Professional businesses account for 8% of the UK economy,  with the area around the City of London full of professionals.  The legal system in the UK is viewed by many as the best in the world, with many contracts running under English law and many Russian oligarchs choosing to fight legal issues in London!
Mr Powell then spoke about trust and ethics within PWC  –  some 200,000 staff across offices in 776 locations in 158 countries (according to Google)
Their mantra includes from their code of contact includes

  • Acting professionally.
  • Doing business with integrity.
  •  Upholding our clients’ reputations as well as our own.
  • Treating people and the environment with respect.
  • Acting in a socially responsible manner.
  • Working together and thinking about the way we work.
  • Considering the ethical dimensions of our actions.

Summary of their ethics questions
1. Is it against PwC or professional standards?
2. Does it feel right?
3. Is it legal?
4. Will it reflect negatively on you or PwC?
5. Who else could be affected by this (others in PwC, clients, you, etc.)?
6. Would you be embarrassed if others knew you took this course of action?
7. Is there an alternative action that does not pose an ethical conflict?
8. How would it look in the newspapers?
9. What would a reasonable person think?
10. Can you sleep at night?
Growth is an important business issue for them – seen as the key for the retention and development of talent.   They receive 30,000 enquiries p.a. for their graduate programme, interview 7,000 and employ 1,200 graduates p.a.   Several of the graduates are now gaining their experience in parts of Eastern Europe or Middle East where there continues to be 25% growth.  In addition, in line with their aim to ensure the future of diversity within recruitment, they now employ 100 school leavers with good ‘A’ level grades who will be given exactly the same opportunities as graduates after training.
Sue and I both came away from the lecture full of Mr Powell’s ethos in business.
And, I think my favourite mnemonic  sits rather well here…..
S  – H – I – T   Sincerity, Honesty, Integrity and Trust


5 Management Secrets I Learned From my Dog

I enjoyed this article from Ryan Holmes, CEO of HootSuite:
“Twelve years ago, I adopted my dog Mika from a shelter. She’s a big brown and black Rottweiler-cross; a mutt with a stubborn streak—who’s also my best friend. My life has changed significantly over the last few years, but Mika has been the one constant pillar through it all. No matter how exhausted I come home from yet another business trip, Mika greets me at the door with enthusiasm. She comes to work with me every day and sits (or sleeps) by my desk through every meeting I have. When I walk around the office, my employees will often see Mika before they see me, because she is always by my side. Through her, I’ve learned the merits of unconditional love. I’ve also picked up a few important lessons in work and life. Here are five that apply to working better:”
Read the article here

Armstrong Beech Marketing Coaching Leadership/Management Video

The VW Fun Theory

I love this theory…
  • The VW Fun Theory   This site is dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.

Check out my favourite, the Piano Staircase (on the above link):  ”Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator and feel better” is something we often hear or read in the Sunday papers. Few people actually follow that advice. Can we get more people to take the stairs over the escalator by making it fun to do? See the results here.

Armstrong Beech Marketing Coaching Leadership/Management Olympic & Jubilee

20 ways to win in business

Former Olympic champion, politician and businessman Sebastian Coe shares the secrets of his success and provides his tips on leadership skills (from an article in the Daily Telegraph in 2009 – I wonder if he would add to this, now, after his experience of running the Olympics?)

I am often asked what motivates me to succeed, and how I apply the skills I learned as a runner to my roles in politics and business. The answers to the first question are a passion for the job in hand and a wish to be the best I can be; the answer to the second is that I apply them daily.

There are common traits to successful leaders in any field: imagination, tenacity, the ability to listen, intuition and intelligence. Equally important is the ability to focus and stay on track for as long as it takes, self-management, an element of charisma, a degree of talent and sheer personal courage.

Sports people at the top of their game tend, like entrepreneurs, to have something of a frontier mentality. They are bold and they are prepared to embrace new ideas. Those with a winning mentality are often more prepared to listen to criticism and do things in a new way. It can take courage to set yourself apart from the crowd. Choosing to do things differently can be mistaken for arrogance but, in reality, taking a new approach is often born simply of a compulsion to keep driving forwards.

Armstrong Beech Marketing Leadership/Management

Buying the thing your project truly needs

Buying the thing your project truly needs. Another great blog from Seth Godin

“In our commercial culture, it’s easy to buy just about anything—except the things you really need.

Like a decision. (And the confidence to execute on it.)



And one hundred other things that are valuable precisely because they can’t be bought, can’t be outsourced and don’t appear precisely when needed”