Is vision and sight the same thing? No. Sight is what you see with your eyes open and vision is what you see when you close your eyes to imagine, dream and ponder what the future looks like. More specifically, I love the way Bill Hybels describes vision as “a picture of the future which makes it impossible to stay where you are.” This definition shows that vision is truly something in the future of how things could be. Something that when you dream you can see what this desired future state looks like, feels like and it stirs your emotions to put fire in your belly to take action, to create momentum toward this vision.
Vision motivates and drives you on and when you share your vision then it creates that same hunger in the team around you. As the leader, part of your role is to share where the business is heading and inspire the team, then the vision is amplified. When working in a team with alignment (where everyone is working together with a common purpose) it produces more than the sum of the individual parts. For example, two oxen are working together they can pull more than twice the weight of a single ox – collaboration breeds multiplication.
Our vision at Advanced Accounting is to forge a stronger, better and more resilient business community with world class leaders running and growing preeminent businesses built on the power of the people inside these businesses. Our purpose is to help passionate business owners achieve their goals doing what they love. We achieve this by working out where you are going, establishing where you are right now and then journey with you to get there. We believe if we can help inspire and educate more business leaders to develop themselves, their team and their business, then this has an incredible impact on our communities.
World class leaders build outstanding cultures inside the business they run which makes for a great work environment where people are more fulfilled, productive and energized. People enjoy working there and therefore are more upbeat and positive at home and in their personal lives. They have a higher level of self-confidence making them more capable in every area of life. Friendships are made inside the businesses and people feel supported and cared for, they bring the best of themselves to work every day.
The better the business, the better the profits, the more the people get paid and the more jobs created inside that business. Stronger businesses contribute more to the economy to create new and higher paid jobs which results in many benefits, both financially and socially. Business can and should help solve the social issues in our communities through raising the standard of living, creating better working conditions, the creation of new jobs and ultimately more profitable businesses leveraging resources to invest back into the communities they serve.
We help people realise their own vision, and by having a compelling vision for your business means you are not satisfied with the status quo and you need to make progress toward this vision. Progress means that you will need to change things, to change things means you need to innovate. A compelling vision magnifies innovation. What I mean when I talk about innovation is the process of improvement in any area of your business, not the invention of new technologies or something radical.
Vision is not a goal but a desired future state. The future state we see is raising the standard of living through business leaders solving the challenges we face today. Business is hard, we know and experience this every day, and so helping business owners get through today for a brighter tomorrow is a big part of what we do.
of any business or organisation rises and falls based on the leader. It is the
responsibility of the leader to build the culture that fosters and grows people
and profits. There are very broadly three things that a leader can do to set
the culture of the business through the things that they do and say. The three
things are; what the leader creates, what the leader hates and what the leader
leader creates is a very positive way to build culture. Every leader has an
idea of what a great culture looks like whether it is conscious or unconscious
and it is up to them to build and create the dream. Values are a massive driver
of culture and having a visible set of core values that the team operate by and
are talked about is one way of creating the culture you want. For example if
you want a culture of accountability, then as a leader you need to model
accountability in all your actions to lead by example. Then you need to make
the team accountable for their actions and this is a way to create the desired
culture of accountability. The positive things you say and do intentionally move
towards an improved culture, in which the leader guides the way.
In the same
way that the leader can create the ideal culture by building and fostering the
desired behaviours, the leader also shapes the culture by what they hate. The
activities or actions that occur inside and around an organisation that the
leader hates are usually very obvious to the people around the leader because
the outworking of that hatred is put on display by the leader. The very things
the leader hates will be made abundantly clear and this will cause the
behaviours of the team to change to either stop the undesired behaviour or at
least hide the undesired behaviour from the leader. The way the leader acts or reacts
to these can be positive or negative, and as you read this I am sure you are
thinking of a time when you have seen this as your boss losses it and the
resulting change. Done well it empowers the team to ensure inappropriate
behaviours and actions are in no way tolerated in the organisation. Done poorly
and the team is left fearful and uncertain.
As a leader
it is your responsibility to appropriately communicate the actions and
behaviours that you hate to empower the team to a higher level of productivity,
efficiency and most importantly trust. The higher level of trust a team has the
stronger the culture, the more resilient they are when encountering
and least thought about or considered in steering a culture are the things tolerated
by the leader. Things tolerated are not obvious and unintuitive because you are
ignoring something as a leader you think it is isolated. The fact is that
nothing is further from the truth because by not correcting the behaviour you
as the leader are affirming it and it will grow and be done again and again.
Then it will flow into other areas and it will flow onto other people in the
team and what was a minor thing tolerated now may become a giant issue that you
hate and explode and probably not in a good way leaving a destructive mess to
clean up. The seeds of discontent will soon grow into resentment if not dealt
things you tolerate and that is just life. You will always have people and
things you struggle with and you need to ensure it is the behaviour you are
correcting and not the person. That means you address the issue and not attack
the person, as soon as you attack the person they do not hear what you are
saying. Again as the leader it is your responsibility to ensure in that
instance and for the team they know your actions are done out of care for the
person, the business and the mission.
The three work together and to build a great culture it needs thought, planning and action around the things the leader creates, hates and tolerates.
What is one
thing in your culture that is going well that you could amplify?
What is one
thing you wish your culture had that you can start building into the culture?
creative ideas can you think of to build into your culture?
How are you
going to act when you see things you hate to build trust in the team?
What can you
tolerate because you cannot be a control freak?
When is the
best time to act on the discontent so that the behaviour is not repeated?
Jeremy and Alice Hocquard have the ingredients for success that have put Brick and Artisan Bread Company—BABCO—on the map. Starting two years ago with pizza ovens and a food truck, as they prepared for the huge investment of setting up a bakery, they made the move to their current location after one year in business. Just a year after opening their bakery on Albert Street in Palmerston North they’ve already expanded into the next-door shop and refurbished. BABCO is a bakery that is becoming iconic, but according to Jeremy they are simply rising to the challenges they’ve laid out for themselves.
Jeremy has taken an interesting path towards opening a bakery having at first studied vet science straight out of school before realising he didn’t want to pursue that interest any further. He went on to study music in Wellington and it was there that he found himself working in the hospitality industry and discovered an interest in food. After breaking his back Jeremy couldn’t work for a couple of years while he dealt with surgery and recovery, but that didn’t stop him from using his downtime to learn more. Combining his love of food and strengths in science Jeremy gained a food science degree majoring in wine science. He spent four years working within the industry in the Hawkes Bay before moving to Palmerston North to study photography and design at UCOL where he met Alice who was doing a videography major.
BABCO is not the first business that Jeremy and Alice have owned having previously started a photography, videography and design company together. Jeremy also spent six and a half years setting up and working in E-commerce businesses but got sick of sitting in front of computers. He felt the pull towards food, and with a science degree specialising in fermentation, creating artisan pizza and bread were good options. With business experience and the ability to create their own top-notch marketing and branding materials their plans were baking hot! BABCO has experienced phenomenal growth with Jeremy and Alice both working incredibly long hours to keep things running smoothly and manage the growing pains.
Jeremy heard about Advanced Accountings Business Development Group (BDG) through his brother-in-law who had taken part in it the previous year and recommended it. While their business was running well they recognised it was important to make sure they were doing the best job possible to achieve their goals.
Jeremy feels the BDG has been great for BABCO and he has implemented useful strategies he learned through attending the course. He has enjoyed observing how other businesses work and has created better systems for tracking his progress. Jeremy and Alice no longer refer to their employees as staff preferring instead to focus on viewing them as a team. They’ve also instilled a sense of accountability into their team culture where everybody owns up to their part in a problem and moves on. BDG has definitely made an impact on their business resulting in taking a step back and handing some jobs like system creation to other team members so that Alice and Jeremy can focus on their larger plans. They gained the support they needed to push go on their plans to expand into the next-door shop and have even adjusted their plans for the future. Jeremy and Alice have lots of dedicated planning and goal-setting sessions and have a five-year plan for their business expansion. They’re committed to their investment of working long hours in the short-term in order to achieve their goals to bring more food-based outlets to Palmerston North and they’re both eager to get on with their plans.
Jeremy has recommended the BDG to other business owners feeling that it has been incredibly valuable to BABCO and future business plans. Being introduced to new content on the course allowed him to step-back and assess his business in a new way and helped him take a new direction. Working with Aaran McLeod helped Jeremy and Alice maximise the potential of their future plans because Jeremy and Alice don’t do anything half-baked—watch this space.
Drainage Plus NZ Ltd is a drain-laying company owned by Alan Gardner that is fresh out of the blocks. With fourteen years’ experience behind him working in drainage Alan has had no problems growing his business from a one-man operation to taking on staff and looking for more within four months of starting.
Like many business people Alan never started out thinking he would go into business. After leaving school, he worked in a factory making farm products and eventually gained an opportunity to work as a drainlayers apprentice. Alan loves working outdoors and getting to use all the ‘big boys’ toys as part of his job, as well as having the opportunity to help people with their drainage requirements. A personal connection to Aaran McLeod from Advanced Accounting found him encouraged to start his own company with Aaran coaching him through the process. Alan felt he was ‘just a drainlayer’ (he’s not), so Aaran ironed out the process of starting a business for him.
One year in Drainage Plus NZ Ltd has experienced strong growth. Now a team of three and ready to expand to include more employees Alan has had to work hard on the tools and juggle the bookwork at night. With wife Lara at home from her job at Westpac on maternity leave, she has been able to take on some of the accounts to free up more time for Alan to focus on other areas.
With Aaran having already helped Alan set-up his business by offering invaluable advice and support, Alan knew he’d likely get something out of attending the Advanced Accounting Business Development Group (BDG).While he was concerned that his business experience was short and that it may impact what he got out of the course he found that it was ‘actually brilliant’. Alan found that regardless of where you are at in business you can apply what you learn however you want and get great reference material that will be useful into the future.
Alan gained a lot from BDG and found it was nice to get away from the day to day running of his business to look at things from a distance, and to spend time with people who understand what it’s like to be in business. Identifying strengths and weaknesses at the beginning of the course helped to focus him on what he needed to work on. Alan gained value from watching how others dealt with challenges and enjoyed celebrating the successes together and offering support to each other in a trusting and confidential environment. The importance of setting up good systems and writing down processes were key learning points that Alan has taken away with him. He also gained more knowledge about how to run a business and learned from others’ experiences. Alan and Lara feel it definitely had an impact on the business with better staff interactions and great business growth. They identified that they needed to think about cashflow and preparing for risks that could affect their business, which in their case a big one is the weather. Alan also learned a new approach to recruiting staff to maintain good team culture and that he needed to keep ahead of new technologies and maintain a competitive edge.
Alan recommends the BDG to anyone in business no matter how long they’ve been operating, finding it has set him up for a great start and made him think about things he would not have otherwise considered. With a future vision to grow to a size where he can step back a bit more and spend time with his family Drainage Plus NZ Ltd is on track to a successful future.
Peter Wintringham is a man with plans that are executed with precision. Starting from the age of sixteen he has mapped his pathway towards a successful future, pursuing his dreams and passions with conviction.
Pete’s journey started at the end of a broom in an engineering workshop where his fascination with welding saw him practising welds during his lunchbreak. Eager to get on the tools fulltime Pete wasn’t going to wait around for a paid apprenticeship, opting instead to pay for his own. By the age of twenty he’d set himself up with a contracting business and purchased his first home. At the age of twenty-two Pete’s outlook on life was shaken when he found himself in the midst of the Bali bombing and decided he wanted to get out there and see a bit more of the world. Selling up his house to go and explore Pete wanted to make sure he didn’t lose everything he’d worked so hard for, so he based himself in the industrial hub of Birmingham and worked in engineering departments at a chemical plant and a titanium manufacturing plant to develop his career and see the world, gaining experience he would otherwise never get in New Zealand. After ten years Pete and his partner drove around the world on their way back home to New Zealand.
Reigniting his business TIG Stainless Ltd in 2014 Pete has gone from strength to strength putting in many hours to grow his business with a reputation that is ‘stainless’. Pete specialises in servicing, building and installation of critical-hygiene engineering and welding, taking on projects from some of the largest local food, dairy and chemical producers.
After seeing the Advanced Accounting Business Development Group (BDG) advertised and attending the pre-taster course, Pete thought he’d give it a go, especially since CEDA funding was available which was a useful incentive. Pete wanted to experience how other businesses navigated their way through challenges and found the breathing room away from the intensity of his workload to be a welcome change. He felt he always came away feeling more positive and recognised that business can be a really, lonely and isolating place. Connecting with other people and observing other’s strengths and weaknesses was very fulfilling and of great value. It’s also an aspect of business development that Pete is interested in continuing.
A new vantage point helped Pete look at his business overall and helped him make some necessary changes. He realised that “you don’t know what you don’t know” after being exposed to new ideas and good guidance from Aaran. Help with identifying time-consuming tasks that he could easily outsource led to making some great choices towards freeing up some time.
After regularly working more than eighty hours per week Pete is finally having weekends off, managing his time better, being more structured and is thinking about what type of lifestyle he wants to have. He has also recognised how crucial it is to have time to spend on your business rather than just working in it and he has been working on putting good systems in place and streamlining processes. Having completed the course Pete knows what areas he needs to work on and the content he has come away with gives him constant access to the information.
Pete drives himself at full speed and holds himself to impeccably high-standards and making the choice to grow his team has been a tough one. After attending BDG he felt encouraged to make the decision and he’s proud of the two tradespeople he’s brought on to join his team which he selected for their high-quality workmanship.
Gaining new tools to examine and assess your business and identify weaknesses as well as networking with other business people were really worthwhile aspects of BDG and Peter would recommend it to other business owners.
The future for TIG Stainless Ltd is to continue developing their cutting-edge technology and grow the team so that polished, high-quality work can continue to be delivered in a high demand industry.