7 Stages of Developing a High Performance Team

Understanding Team Dynamics

Creating and building effective teams has got to be the biggest challenge facing business owners. I am yet to find a business that is successful without getting this “people” stuff sorted.  I recently  found a great model for describing how team dynamics work.

I had previously been aware of the work of the Grove guys from their work with “visual meetings” (good book btw),  but I was unaware of the fact that in the 1980’s David Sibbet and Allan Drexeller (founders of Grove) also developed a great model for creating and building teams.

Here’s a snippet from their web site…

Teams are more like athletes and artists than buildings, and are in a journey that fluctuates between freedom of aspirations and real-world constraints—seeking a resolution of the two in action. They pass through different stages of engagement and often go back and forth between these stages as the team coalesces. Drexler and Sibbet decided to visualize the Drexler/Sibbet Team Performance Model® as a bouncing ball. It starts with people “up in the air” imagining the purpose and bounces off the “ground” of current realities, regaining freedom of movement through mastery of the constraints.  Read more from their blog site here>

Their 7 stage model also works for new people joining a team. Noting that at any point you can revert back to the previous stage.

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New Affordable Business Owners Development Programme

Getting your business flying is hard work. 

Are you working on the right stuff ?

Whether you are starting a new business or you are eager to accelerate success in your current business this is the programme for you.

Activate – Jump Start begins with an intensive “live in” weekend, 10 back to back business workshops. Topics covered include: Pitching, capital raising, business planning, creating high performance teams, governance for SME’s, maximising value from advisors. Our aim is to help you avoid common mistakes, save money and accelerate the growth of your business. You will leave the weekend with a draft business plan for your business.

One month later you will have a dedicated facilitated strategy session for your business, 3 follow up mentoring sessions plus much more all included in the price for the weekend.

Aimed at the start-up and SME market with less than $5M revenue this high impact programme is pegged at an affordable price point.

Typical GMC client feedback we get is…

“It’s a harsh reality check that’s brutal, but uplifting and utterly necessary. Mark runs you through it with passion and insight. Highly recommended.”
Ollie Langridge – Netfilms Ltd

“This will make me get out of my comfort zone and put my “dream” into action” CEO Traverse Developments

The pragmatic delivery style of Mark has gained rave reviews and we can promise you the only case study we will work on is your business.

The activate programme is an extension of the original Activate launched by Grow Wellington for the Wellington Regions start-up community. GMC have partnered with Grow Wellington to refresh the Activate programme and combine it with GMC’s pragmatic and fast paced learning style. With Grow Wellingtons assistance we are launching this new revised programme for Wellington on September 2-4 at Tatum Park.

For Auckland businesses we have scheduled the 2011 session for November 25. At this stage it is envisaged that this programme will have 3 intakes per year, limited to a maximum of 15 companies to maximise learning.

Growth Management Consulting (GMC) and the Jump Start Weekend are registered with NZTE as an approved workshop that business capability vouchers can be redeemed for. This can provide up to a 50% discount on course fees.

For more information available at http://www.growthmanagement.co.nz/activate.html including full programme and registration.

Register now and get a free copy of Rob Adams “if you build it they will come” (read book review here)

Or  call Mark Robotham direct on 021 61 8850

Do you have proof that your product will sell?

Starting a new business or product line?
Have you validated your market yet?

Do you have enough facts to convince a complete non-emotional stranger that once you have built your product or service that people will buy it and you will make enough money to create a business?

We all too often fall into the common trap of thinking that we have come from the industry, so we do not need to do any validation that customers will actually want and more importantly buy our product.

Too many businesses, fail to complete this best risk mitigation technique available to them, before ploughing into developing their product. 60% of new products fail when launched, many taking the company out with it.  This failure rate can be eliminated with a simple 60 day market research programme, started before you invest your time and energy into developing your next product.

I have just read Rob Adams “If you build it they will come” book. This post is a small collection of some of the topics covered and thoughts I have had post reading it. This book is now going to be compulsory reading for my clients who are starting a new business, including those attending the new Activate – business growth programme I facilitate.

Rob details a simple process of first doing some basic market sizing work off publicly available information (secondary research) and then getting in front of customers to conduct a series of rounds of one on one interviews. Nothing in the book is rocket science – yet 90% of businesses I come across could save a lot of time, money and frustration by following his process.

Rob, recommends you allocate 10% of your product development budget towards market validation before you start developing it.

My recommendation is that you do 50 -100 interviews, including testing what your potential customers will want to pay for your product-service (ie the ASP – average sales price). Then work out how many you expect to sell each year.

Revenue per employee is a great benchmark metric for businesses, under $100K you do not have a viable business. Over $200,000-250,000 per employee then you are on the money.

Do the maths:  (X customers x Spend Y$) / (number of people in your business) if < $100,000 stop and get help quick.

If the thought of interviewing 100 potential clients to understand their needs daunts or scares you, then I would say give up now, these same people are going to be the people who once you have set up your business you are going to be selling to.

This simple market validation process ensures that you can create a “must have product” rather than a “nice to have”  that people will struggle to open their wallet for. I can guarantee as a result of these interviews you will change your product as a result. Don’t be like others who develop and release version 1 to find this out. Likewise you can establish the “minimum viable product” a concept of the least functionality you need to make your mark in the market.

Explore the bounds of your competitors including substitutes (work a round’s or doing nothing). This is particularly relevant when you are creating new disruptive products, in which case you need to work out what discretionary spend budget you are going to take the consumers money from.

So if you did not get a copy in Rob’s recent NZ tour, get yourself a copy. It will be going on my Top 5 must read books, kicking off Rob’s Early book “A good kick in the arse basic guide to entrepreneurs” only because this kick (market validation) is the most needed one for startups.

I love Rob Adams phrase “Business Pornography” – the fairy tale stories the press love propagating about businesses, that magically created the dream product, its running out the door and live is easy.

PS: This was my first kindle experience – loved the ability to highlight sections then export them to word doc.

PSS: for us visually oriented people, can we have some pictures-diagrams in your next book.

90 Sec Elevator Pitch Template

Going to a networking function and decided you want to nail your elevator pitch … try this format out for size.

Build your 90 sec elevator sales pitch with sound bites – (10 – 15 sec succinct statements). These are newspaper headlines not a full novels, cut the jargon and keep it simple.  Contrast (before-after or with-without) combined with a specific  customer story is the most powerful.

Do not forget you need to get attention – Stand out from the crowd – Take a stand.

 90 Sec Template:

1: INTRODUCTION AND WOW (15 sec)

Hi I am (name) …  I am from (company name) …
Opening WOW statement    (Take a stand on something,  make a judgement call, or give a great customer story)

2: VALUE PROPOSITION (15 sec)

The problem we solve for customers is…    (quantify the customer pain and gain)

 3:  UNIQUE PROPOSITION (15 sec)

What makes us different is …    (include comparisons to substitute products including doing nothing)

 4:  TARGET MARKET (15 sec)

My ideal customer-referral  is …   ( size, revenue, geography , sector etc)

 5:  CASE STUDY PROOF (15 sec)

One of our customers …  ( give an example – be specific with names and quantify the gain)

OK and for those of you who are good at maths you now have 15 secs left …

More information is available here in a two page cheat sheet>

For inspiration on a power investment pitch check out the best example I have from first attempts at my investment pitching workshop. Watch video here>

Creating a Succinct Story

Click below for a free 28 min seminar on “Creating your own succinct story”  watch here

Smart Promotional Spend – Avanti Show the Way

I see too many businesses blowing mindless money on trade shows. Typically inviting their customers to attend big tradeshows where all their competitors are exhibiting. Having spent a number of years in international telecommunications marketing I have seen this big time with businesses spending $100K plus and getting nowhere.

 The better alternative is to run a dedicated customer event, in a location where you can either entice your customers to go, or in their back yard. 

At Stratex we ran dedicated 2 day customer events in exotic locations like Phuket and Biarritz at a quarter the price with twice the impact, we could create a presence at CEBIT or communicasia. The customers left having had a fantastic time, all referenced direct to our brand, not the industry.

 Thursday night I saw an excellent example of getting customer engagement right, from a local company. Avanti backed their dealer conference with a great showcase event with their 2012 product range open to the public. The event was attended by a huge number of bike enthusiasts.

 I would rate it as one of the better customer events I have attended. Plenty of product specialists with plenty of time to talk to you, in fact most customers I saw were so engrossed in the product the bar was near empty.

 So for the bike enthusiasts among you here are some of my highlights: 

  • Di2 is a must for anyone into bike bling – Check out this video clip if you are not up with the play
  • Di2 bikes for under $7,000 retail – the Di2 ultegra range this year is going to rock
  • Di2 Quatum team (picture below) took my fancy – Extra Di2 remote shifters by the hoods allow for gear shifting of rear derailleur when not riding in the drops – so cool …it’s on my shopping list.
  • The growing trend in Cycle-cross and 29er range
  • The new Ultegra – range wiring system and up to 28 tooth rear sprockets could be a great Tandem upgrade.

 Great show Avanti – and thanks for being such a great support to Pure Black Racing (NZ’s first UCI Pro Tour team in the making). Looking forward to the 2012 bike info being up on their web site and more importantly in-store.