Learn how CEO / Managing Director Tim went from working IN the business to working ON the business in order to make certain he was strategically scaling the business.
Tim Mears: “In order to take this business to the next stage and scale it, we needed to have somebody leading it, I think we’d fallen into the trap of working in the business, not on the business.
What really came out of this course is redefining what my role was and really understand what my true value was.
It’s enabled me to fall back in love with what I do, and define what I do, find joy and happiness not only at work but also at home, and that’s priceless.”
Running a business isn’t an easy thing to do. Learn how Tim:
• Moved away from his comfort zone of sales into being a true Strategic, Visionary Leader
• Redefined what his role was by mapping out his true value and embodying Servant Leadership
• Moved from telling, bullying, and taking over, he empowers and coaches his team
• Uses mindfulness and strategic thinking to move himself and the business forward
• Went from being totally money driven to serving his customers and employees…leading to staff members telling him that it’s the best job they’ve ever had
• Fell back in love with his job all while setting his company up to scale to the next level
Tim, tell us a little about Axon and what you, the company, and the industry are going through?
We were a traditional IT break/fix support business and we’ve transitioned into the Cloud, evolving our business around business process and how companies enabling businesses to use technology to improve their businesses and that technology consultation piece.
The industry has changed, especially over the last 5 years. with Cloud computing coming to the front and center. We’ve really had to transition our business away from a technical focus more into a business process focus and really understand what businesses do and how technology fits within that business.
It’s a big challenge, such a changing culture and changing mindset. Yes, we need to understand technology and how it’s plumbed together but now actually, what’s probably more, we all live now in a customer service led world.
Why did you sign up for the course?
Over the last five years we’ve had good double digit growth each year, which has been good. However, we’ve now got to a stage where we need to take that next step.
When I saw you speak at the CompTia event, a few things that you said really hit home. I was unsure of my role and how to get us to keep up this rapid growth; I was feeling quite alone; and I was feeling like a bit of a fraud.
We’ve grown this company and I am a leader, though I’ve got away with it by just riding on my personality, which will do me a disservice in the long run. I think a lot of people in this position feel that. Why I signed up to the course was really because I realized that I had to change as a person as well. That was key to take this business to the next stage.
We turn over just short of three million. In order to take this business to the next stage and scale it, we needed to have somebody leading it, I think we’d fallen into the trap of working in the business, not on the business, especially me. And it was really my job as a managing director is to look at the strategic vision and where this business is going. I was spending more time actually working in the business, as opposed to looking that direction, it was becoming quickly a rudderless ship so to speak.
I’ve grown up in a sales background and it was really about getting things done. I find myself jumping in and really just pushing the business forward by fundamentally taking and trying to do it myself and pushing people and saying this is how we’re doing it, come on let’s do it. Which is probably the arrogant side of me going my way is the best way. Well actually it’s not.
I would find myself jumping in and not listening. And I say it to my kids all the time, God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. Well I just didn’t take that onboard myself.
It wasn’t until I listened to your talk that you highlighted it.
So yes, that’s the light bulb moment where I realized something was broken, to get to our goals something had to change, and it was me.
What changed after attending the course? How are you different, what skills did you learn et cetera?
The first major takeaway from the course was actually taking a step back and understanding or defining in my mind what a leader was.
A lot of people think as an MD that role is just defined, well actually it’s not. This course walked us through a process where I could stand back and understand what a good leader is and what my role is. I realized that I kept jumping back into the business to prove my worth and feel important, and would justify it by saying I need to be in with the troops and drive it forward. I work 9:00 in the morning well 8:00 in the morning till 9:00 at night because that meant I’m important. Where actually it wasn’t productive.
What really came out of this course is redefining what my role was and really understand what my true value was. Where I need to add value is instead of being on the organizational chart at the top was actually turn that upside down and I’m at the bottom supporting everybody above me. And that has been a revelation. Now I feel I’m able to step back and utilize the techniques that you’ve taught me now that I’m clear on what my role is.
And that allows me enough time to then ask the strategic questions like where are we going as a business? how do we get to that point? I share that vision, the mission, and the strategic view of the business. And then again supporting them to achieve that, they achieve it, not me.
How have you moved into a more coaching role as a leader?
As I mentioned before, I get to a stage where if someone is not doing it the way I would have, I would just power through. I didn’t listen to what their views were, and they probably knew more about the subject than me.
Now instead of telling them what to do and how to do it, it’s more about coaching them and actually sitting down and listening to their views. Then they formulate how to get to that next stage, while I give them my experience and my views on it. This way I’m using my experience that I’ve had through my business life, yet they’re making the decisions, and it’s empowering them.
In the past I’ve had a couple times where I was clashing with one of my senior managers because his views or the way that he did things I thought were unproductive. Now, after one of the course modules, I decided to take what you taught and take that on board and tried a different tack with him.
I listened to his views and how he wanted to do it, and where previously I would’ve jumped in like a bull in a china show and told him this is a waste of time.
Instead what I did then is listen with empathy to how he wanted to do it, and because I did that instead of clashing with him, he opened up more, and came to what was probably the right conclusion, which is probably not the way I would have done it.
We’ve implemented that and he’s taking great pride in it and he’s got ownership of that, and it’s working really well, four weeks in. It’s 10 times better than what it used to be.
How would you define your company culture?
We all want to get the job, we care, and we’re honest. The key thing around the culture is honesty. Some people don’t like that all the time, but we will have difficult conversations because we see our customers not as customers, we see them as partners.
If we say that we think that’s the wrong thing to do, we will tell them, but they respect us for that. We’ve got a good team now and the culture is good. It’s a can-do attitude really.
What the course has highlighted to me is that everyone has the ability to learn and develop into new areas. One of the best things is that I’ve continued with the mindfulness and strategic thinking exercises. And now, we’re now encouraging everyone in the business to do that.
You’re implementing Traction / EOS. How does the course support that?
With the EOS, we’re getting a framework or a model which everybody knows where they are and they’re accountable and we have a clear vision. The techniques and the methods that I’ve been taught in the course really complement them.
Within any small business everyone can get too engrossed in the business and working and trying to do everything and work every hour in the day. That’s counter-productive.
We had one of my senior managers his work ethic is unquestionable. He will work every hour possible. I know that’s not healthy, so I’ve taught him some of the techniques you’ve taught me from the course. I’ve actually kicked him out of systems at night now so he can’t work because there’s more to life than the business, and he’s taking that break and spending time with friends, family, et cetera. He’s becoming more productive within the hours of our business and I wouldn’t thought about that if hadn’t done the course.
What other benefits have you received from the course?
The big quick wins and the ones that have the most impact is the way that I personally speak to my team and I engage with the team. I think people within senior management don’t fully understand how their actions effect the business.
If I look back at times where I would have flown off the handle or been a bit abrupt, and think about how that affects the team, it can be a real issue. I continue to improve but just having that benchmark or starting point of what you’ve taught helps immensely.
For example, meetings I would always go as bull in a china shop and take over, with no structure, and it was crazy. But now, again with the techniques that you’ve highlighted, we’ve now got a clear effective structure to our meetings. So that’s really helped as well.
You see these changes happen straightaway. It’s neat the way that we interact and build empathy with the team.
Are you more excited and optimistic about the future and reaching your long-term goals?
100%. I think before I went on the course it was like the movie Groundhog Day, we hit that glass ceiling of the three million, we were just carrying on and nothing was really changing. What’s happened now is that I see the green shoots of actually pushing though that ceiling and building a better organization.
Not just a better organization, but a better place to work.
People would say why do you do this, why do you work all these hours? And, to be perfectly honest, it was around creating money. Now over the last four weeks I’ve had my two senior managers and two members of the staff come up to me and say they really love working here. They really do, it’s the best job that they’ve ever had.
And actually that means a hell of a lot to me. So there we go.
What would you say to someone considering the course?
I would say if anything that I’ve said resonated and that’s how you feel at the moment, is take that leap and do it. You’ve got nothing to lose but the benefits that you could get from this, if you put the time and you’re open minded to it, is worth the time and the effort.
I think what happens is you fall out of love with the business…or you fall out of love with the role. It can get monotonous and you can’t carry on doing it day in day out and it grinds you down.
What I’ve been able to do is stand back and actually go yeah this is what I’m doing now, and do you know what, I like it, I enjoy it.
There’s many times I’m sure many people are reading, listening, or watching this, who are in a small business and say oh I wish I was just in a corporate. I could hide, it’s easy money. I go to work, I know what my role is, it’s nine to whatever and this is what I’ve got to do and then switch off.
You don’t get that as a small business owner, you are constantly on it, so you got to love what you’re doing.
The course has enabled me to fall back in love with what I do, and define what I do, find joy and happiness not only at work but also at home, and that’s priceless.
Interested in learning how you can achieve the same confidence, strategic leadership, and team inspiring gains that Tim has?
Book a call with one of my professional Leadership Mentors here: https://tiny.cc/mentorcall
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If you’re dedicated and driven to keep growing both in your job and yourself, booking a call with my team is the single strongest thing you can do. Click the link now and get started: https://tiny.cc/mentorcall