neither do I condemn you

Almost all entrepreneurs we speak to, have some form of frustration with the business they have created. They had a vision for what it should be, what it should produce, but mainly, what characteristics it displays in everyday life. To customers, to the product it produces, to people employed and most of all, the relationship this entity had with its creator. Safe to say, this is a complex issue and the correct identification of this dynamic falls just as squarely on the entrepreneur than on anyone who is coaching or otherwise involved in trying to improve the situation.

where to from here?

The first emotional peg in the ground is squarely in the court of the entrepreneur. They know they want change, and that want is driven by a certain need;


Most entrepreneurs come at change from the side of growth. Here they recognise that their creation can be much more. It is not based on the size you currently are. We have seen this “initial blush” in business that are start-up’s, businesses that are mature and have reach a certain level of maturity and everything in-between. There is no growth without hard work and sometimes some pain. The entrepreneur has to get past this “complexity point” by dedicating themselves, their time, energy and money to make the project happen.

Business Growth cycle (called by us the Complexity Point) used to demonstrate the different business development challenges as the business matures and becomes more capable

stay as you are!

Often, when faced with this Business Growth cycle Curve, the entrepreneur has two choices, to make the commitment to growth, or, to decide to live in their present world that has supported them, given them a degree of satisfaction and dedicate themselves to their passion – normally the development and production of a technical widget for which they are famous. Who can condemn a decision not to grow and stay as they are?

where to begin – if growth is chosen?

The answer to this is also complex, most entrepreneurs come with a very fixed view of what is wrong with their businesses. It’s SALES they say, we need more orders, or it”s HUMAN RESOURCES, we can’t find, hire, train, retain the right staff, no one is engaged with the business, no one has the passion for my creation that I have. Maybe we should start with FINANCE, we are struggling to pay salaries on time and it seems that we can never get “on top” of this monster.

Now, its all very well telling a potential coaching entrepreneur that this frustrations can be caused by a hidden and underlying meta condition. There are perspectives that say, that the fish rots from the head which is a horrible way of saying that all the ills in the business stem from the leader – the head of the organisation. This may be true, but in our experience it is abdication, not a lack of passion, skill and motivation that causes these frustrations. We are yet to find an entrepreneur that says, the problem with the business is because I have not communicated the correct way to behave.

There are 3 sources of these frustrations, INWARD belonging to the entrepreneur where some characteristic finds itself copied and unfortunately amplified by the business. OUTWARD where the business is in political lockdown. Unfortunately, this can happen in a huge multinational business and one where there is only 1 employee. They think they know better. While taking direction they undermine, cut corners and create their own way of working. Both these scenarios can be as toxic and as hurtful as the other. We have worked in both and it’s very much like walking in quicksand – the entrepreneur just can’t get ahead. Lastly, SYSTEMS related. Either a lack, a broken or an under-performing system leads to the frustration. Sadly, this is were most entrepreneurs start, throw out the old, get world best practice and spend mega bucks to fix a perceived problem.

If you are staring at your belly button blaming yourself for an under performing creation, or, hating and changing people left right and centre to get some impetus of performance into your problem child, or, spending like there is no tomorrow to build an Intensive Care Unit when all you need is an Elastoplast, you may be going about this all wrong.

where to start changing?

I guess it is self explanatory, but change for change sake is as dangerous as no change and consequently no growth. Change demands that you closely define where you are, plan a degree of change in areas that have the greatest impact (priority) and finally understand what do and identify when you get to the end. A tool that might help is based on subjective questioning of where you are and an objective plotting of a number of 360deg answers on a Boston Grid with the axis Maturity (Vision) and Capability (Execute).

the FREE tool

Built with EXCEL it forms the basis of the work of trying to visualise where you are and where you could start work. Given that you have selected your priorities correctly there should be a strong correlation between your goals and the work this tool indicates are required in your System of Delivery (SoD). Without a SoD, you cannot deliver consistent, repeatable quality and quantity – the reasons for systemisation. Based on the EMyth definition of the DNA of a business, 7 sections each have 3 questions about your implementation of that dynamic. You can ask these questions of up to 7 peers or even those outside your company that may have a valid view. The results are plotted on the Magic Quadrant to represent Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute.

We hope this tool will give you a starting point on your journey, but most of all, excite the curiosity to find a worthily entrepreneurial activity that Builds a Legacy (BaL) into a Legacy of note!

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Peter French

Business Coaching is not consulting, it's also not therapy. It's a unique profession that lives somewhere in between these two poles - structured to leave lasting life and business value!

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