There’s more to visibility than self-promotion

self-promotionIn this article Kate Griffiths continues with the theme of visibility that she started in last week’s post and shares ideas on how to get noticed in a good way.  Business owners, particularly those starting out are keen to get clients and be noticed so they focus on being visible but often in a way that is counter productive.  

If you look up the dictionary definition of visibility it states that it is the ability to be seen or the extent to which something attracts attention and gains prominence.  Small businesses rely on recommendations and referrals as a key way to growing their business.  Marketeers often teach clients that any publicity is good publicity because people will be talking about you.  This is a myth, let me explain why using an example of my own.  I had a hideous experience about five years ago when I was very new to the world of small business where I agreed to write an article about social media for Mums.  The editor felt that I needed to write stronger statements in my article so I did what I was asked and wrote something quite controversial.  It provoked a fierce reaction and the organisation got what it was hoping to achieve which was high engagement on its site however it did not do a lot for my reputation because readers, understandably, assumed that the views expressed were what I believed.  Furthermore when I needed it, I did not get the support from the editorial team.  To be fair to them, I had not questioned their motives sufficiently nor had we communicated how we would behave if the article went viral.

It was a great lesson for me in that my desire to be noticed overrode my sense of who I was becoming at that time.  Rather than writing my truth, I adapted my views to fit in with what someone else wanted.  I am not like the great chess players who think many moves ahead as they contemplate their next step, I tend to live in the moment.  I did not stand back and reflect on the potential impact of what I was writing and I paid the price.  It had many ramifications for me, few of them positive at that time.  It was probably about the last time however that I was caught out in that way and as the adage says you only learn when you find yourself in a place of discomfort.

In my experience what clients are looking for is a sense of innate confidence in what you are offering and a constancy in how you show up.  They want to get to know you to decide, especially as a coach or someone who works in the leadership development field, whether they wish to work with you.  They cannot achieve this if you don’t spend at least some time engaging on social media platforms.  Think about it how can they get a sense of who you are and what you stand for, if you rarely participate in conversations online except to post your latest offering.  That is not showing up.

And yes it is difficult to straddle all the platforms effectively.  At some point you need to make a choice about where you are going to focus your energy.  Will it be Facebook, Google plus or Twitter?  You can have a presence on all three and yet you still need to decide how you will engage in each medium, for how long each week and the extent to which you will automate that engagement.  This post is not going to go into the merits of the different platforms as Chris Ogle has written a very useful article on that so click here if you are interested in reading more on that.

For me what is important is that everything you do is aligned to your values.  Your focus needs to be on who you are becoming and to find inspirational places where you can be that and start to build your community in that way.  Yes it takes time and there is not necessarily instant gratification or sales.  That said it is a lot more sustainable in the long run because you start to build a following and people look out for your comments and posts.  It is why I set up my facebook group Sacred Soul Space because I wanted to create a place of inspiration for business owners where they could grow and be seen and supported by others.  Some amazing connections have already happened in particular someone drove from Watford to Oxford to meet another of our members; there are two based in the San Francisco Bay area who are planning to meet up; and others have got together through Link4Growth in the North and regularly get together.

In the new paradigm, doing business or your levels of visibility equate to the extent to which you give to others.  Generosity of spirit is a key value now and pays dividends although often unexpectedly in terms of how business comes to you.  In short just posting your own links in a forum or group and yet being notable by your absence 95% of the time, will not build your business.  We all buy from those we know, like and trust.  Being present in a mindful way is one of the fastest ways to grow your business in the long term.  I know this from personal experience.

I hope this article has caused to reflect on your own practices as a business owner and you get a real sense that visibility in business comes when you know who you are becoming.  It is all linked to who you are being.  I am available for a free 30 minute consultation if you wish to discuss any of this further and currently have one or two openings for new coaching clients.  I would love to hear your take on visibility in the comments below.

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Kate Griffiths works  with individuals and business owners to create more ease and flow in their lives.  Clients include conscious business owners and leaders who recognise that the old paradigm way of doing things does not work and want support in determining  what the new ways of doing business look like.  She is passionate about creating conversations that lead to change and has developed her own process to do that called connection through conversation.  If you want to get free tips then ask to go on her monthly newsletter and join Sacred Space for the Soul

 

 

Unconscious habits stop deep connection

young people habitsIn this article Kate Griffiths unpicks an innocuous phrase that is used by many and shows how it prevents real connection.  She implies this could be one of the main reason you are not getting the level of success you are looking for in business.  So take a moment to pause from the busyness of your day and check in to see if this applies to you. 

Do you tend to ask people what they do when you meet them for the first time?  And when you are asked that question is the answer something you have honed into a 30 second elevator pitch?  Does it have the desired effect – do people go wow and hire you on the spot? I expect the answer depends on how authentic you are.

If you said yes to either or both of those questions then do not worry, you are not alone if you perform this ritual.  I have not done a survey but I expect at least 70% of people do that.  You may not even know why you do it.  It could just be one of those unconscious habits you have adopted.

Ask yourself what are you hoping to receive when you ask that question?  Are you merely asking the question so that the recipient will ask you the same one back and you can “strut your stuff?”  Of course you don’t have to share any of this with me although I am curious to know but do take the time to be honest with yourself.

Here’s my working theory.  Whilst some do ask this question, so as to get the chance to answer it themselves and so are not really interested in what you have to say, that is probably the minority.  For many of you it is probably an unconscious filtering system; a way of finding out whether or not that person can be of use to you in whatever you are trying to achieve.  If you are a connector you may seize on the info as a way of working out who to connect that person with in your own network.

All of this can be very helpful and that’s a great start.  Now ask yourself – can a person really sum up the key elements of who they are in 30 seconds?  No of course they can’t so when we ask people to do that, we are being reductionists.  We are asking them to categorise themselves so that we can put a label on them and then file them into one of a number of boxes.  What those boxes are and how you use them will be unique to you and is not what I am interested in here.

What fascinates me is how effective that way of being is?  And as way of an answer I am going to share a story of something that happened to me at the beginning of the year.  I was engaged in some speed networking, not something I do often and I came across a woman who did just what I have described but to extremes.  She wanted to know what I did so being a little mischievous I gave her lots of seemingly incompatible one word answers and then sat back and watched.  She was struggling to make sense of them and finding it extremely hard to put me any of her readymade categories because like most people I do not neatly fit in one box, I am a complex being with hats for many occasions.

So here’s what I suggest that you do next time you meet someone you don’t know.  Ask them what they love in life.  I can guarantee that their eyes will light up and they will share something much more intimate than the usual I am a facilitator response.  It is also likely that you will discover that you have more in common than you could have ever imagined and your life will be richer for the exchange.

If you want to know more then join us for the inaugural Link4Coffee in Hitchin on Friday 20 JuneQuotidian – a chance to get to know who is in your community so that you link, learn and grow on so many levels.  We need new ways to connect that move away completely from the old paradigm and this is it.  I wrote a whole piece on new paradigm networking a while back so check it out if you want more on this topic.  Otherwise book into Link4Coffee in Hitchin – we already in double figures in less than 24 hours.

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Kate Griffiths is a midwife who births new paradigm businesses.  Following a career at PwC and prior to that as a Director within Higher Education,  she now works primarily with conscious business owners and leaders that recognise the old paradigm way of doing things does not work.  She helps them discover what the new ways of doing business look like.  She is passionate about creating conversations that lead to change and has developed her own process to do that called connection through conversation.  You can meet her at the inaugural Hitchin Link4Coffee next Friday, 20 June.

How setting intentions leads to flow in business

intentionsIn this article Kate Griffiths explains why intentions are so much more powerful than goals and how you can make the magic work for you.

At the beginning of every year and let’s face it we have only just started the year of the horse (31 Jan) most coaches talk about goal setting.  I don’t and you know why because more often than not it doesn’t work.

I found myself recently at a group full of coaches that I had been invited to attend and I witnessed goal setting gone mad.  It was fascinating and scary in equal measure.  Some of them set goals for the week or even each day and feel that they are not reaching their potential if they don’t do this almost religiously.  They believe that it is modelling what their clients want as it would appear that they use a model such as GROW as the primary tool when coaching – the first step of which is for the client to set a goal for the session.

All that said the answer is not about advocating a do nothing approach as that can easily lead to drifting.  What I will do is blast out the water the assumption that if you don’t have a goal you will just drift through life and not make the most of it.  Why is that?

Goals come from the doing mode.  We spend way too much time in that space as it is.  Think about it?  How driven are you?  Is your mind your servant or your keeper?  Do you feel you need to be productive in order to have value?  If that is you then you are not alone, many buy into this idea.  It is part of the current paradigm in terms of the way we do business and yet it is counter productive.  How so?  I remember when I set up my business I set myself a goal in the form of a monthly income target.  Then everything started to go wrong.  I was not reaching my target and I felt more and more miserable.  As my spirits sank so did my confidence and so too did my impact on potential customers.  It was a downward spiral and it took quite a lot of work to shift that perspective.  Sound familiar.

What’s the alternative you might be asking?  What I choose to do is set intentions.  They can be as powerful as goals but we tend to hold them more lightly.  They do not hold you in a vice like grip; they have a playful energy about them if you have gone within to listen to your inner teacher and created your intention from there.  This process can get amazing results.  This is because intentions are linked to core values and beliefs and your feelings.  So just imagine what happens when you align your beliefs with positive feelings and an intention – the wow factor.  Intentions are not woo woo: the word has a similar meaning to goal – aim, intent, purpose but here’s something you probably did not know the medical meaning.  In medicine intention is defined as the healing process of a wound.

I love using stories to explain what I am talking about so I thought that I would share with you the intention that I set for myself in 2014 and what has happened since I set it so that you can see the powerful way it can work.  I went into meditation and invited my soul in so that I could really feel its vibration in my body because it is your soul that yearns for you to live your true purpose whilst you are here on earth.  Through that process the following intention came to me:

I intend to experience prosperity by being a source of prosperity for others.

Prosperity does not just mean wealth it comes from the Latin for hopeful and full of possibilities.  I know how true this is for me because it really resonated with the clients and colleagues I have shared it with.  Not only that I have some real shifts in what is happening on the outside which just shows that if we tend to our inner world, we allow stuff to manifest for us externally.

In financial terms, which for some, is the key to success, I have been shortlisted to provide some very fulfilling facilitation and coaching work for clients that offer a much needed service in the world.  If I secure that contract I will be well on the way to making my stretch target for this year.  Believe me that feels good when it is still only February.

Other things are also beginning to happen.  I was at a community networking meeting this morning.  I met some fabulous people and in talking to a couple of guys who run amazing cultural venue in Luton, I came up with a great way for them to raise the profile and continue to build up a more positive image of Luton.  I am thrilled to be involved in it with them.  There is no direct gain for me but I know that it is going to have ramifications for many and two people have already signed up for the event even though it has not been launched yet.  So that’s an example of how I am being a source of prosperity for others.

If you have not set up an intention for 2014 yet then I hope this article has shown you how it could work for you.  If you are now inspired to do so but don’t know how to do that, get in touch I can help you.  It is part of what I do and I so want you to experience the magic and power of it for yourself.

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Kate Griffiths works  with individuals and business owners to create more ease and flow in their lives.  Clients include conscious business owners and leaders who recognise that the old paradigm way of doing things does not work and want support in determining  what the new ways of doing business look like.  She is passionate about creating conversations that lead to change and has developed her own process to do that called connection through conversation.  Contact her to attend the next one on 27 March in Woodbridge.  She also teaches mindfulness so if you want to get your week off to a great start, book a place on her next four week course starting on 10 March.  If you prefer, get in touch with Kate to set up an initial consultation to explore working one to one with her.

So why should you care about being a conscious business?

conscious bizIn this article Kate Griffiths explores further what it means to be a new paradigm/ conscious business owner today.  She is passionate about this as she senses this is what the world is desperate for and she sees it as the way ahead for people who want more.  It is about creating a win for everybody.

It sounds like the latest jargon doesn’t it but it is not.  What I can promise you is that it is often counter-intuitive and goes against the grain because it is upsetting the current prevailing paradigm.  If you have a strong rebel archetype in you then you will love this; if not then you may find it unsettling.

I like to speak in examples as that makes it more real for people.  I run a private group on FB for people that have attended one or more of my Connection through Conversation events.  Interestingly two of the founding members posted something recently about courses they are selling.  No one apart from me liked their posts let alone engaged with them.  Why?  It wasn’t because the content was dubious in fact the opposite was true both courses were really fascinating areas to explore.  However the people that use the group regularly and comment on posts had never heard from these two individuals.  It is an example of the scattergun approach to marketing: post something into an FB group that you are a member of and hope for the best.  Actually spending a bit of time getting to know people, sharing content that they might find inspiring before you start inviting them to your events, will lead to a much greater take up when you are selling stuff.  People will know you and if they like and trust you then they are more likely to say yes and perhaps even invite others.  Otherwise you are in danger of being considered a spammer.

Each of us is part of something much bigger than ourselves and our own lives, dreams and hopes.  Quite often however the focus is on how do I make the next £100 or £1000 to the extent that the mantra when asked to be part of something is what’s in it for me?  Actually being in service of others is what leads to growth in your own business.  You may do a double take, scratch your head and think that’s bonkers but let me explain what I mean.  I am part of an amazing new paradigm concept – link4growthChris Ogle, the founder, has an inspiring vision.  His aim is to build up local communities so we know who the go to person for various things is in any particular area.  I am not just talking about business; it is really about anything to do with that area.  I am building the #l4gHitchin community on Google plus – still considered by many to be a new platform.  So my starting point has been twitter.  In less than a day I have nearly 300 on my list and it is strictly Hitchin & surrounding villages only.  More than that I have had more interaction with folks in my twitter network today than any day for a while and I already have a klout score of 60 so social media engagement is something that I do well.  So what is it all about?

People are inspired when you do something with no obvious personal gain.  If it is helping them to reach a wider audience with their products and services they are grateful.  It is like magic and is so sparkly that it attracts more and more people until suddenly it rubs off on you.  Be warned this domino effect only happens and remains sustainable if your intention is pure that is you are genuinely doing it for the benefit of others.

If you want to find out more about this approach to business and how you can create more impact yourself, then do sign up for http://bit.ly/1a5ANay a taster session that will explore how business is changing in 21st century and it only costs £18 a real bargain for a morning’s worth of content.  I would love to hear your experiences of conscious business below and am happy to answer any questions you have.

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Kate Griffiths has worked as a change consultant and coach in a range of organisations for over twenty years.  She now works primarily with conscious business owners and leaders that recognise the old paradigm way of doing things does not work and are trying to work out what the new ways of doing business look like.  She is passionate about creating conversations that lead to change and has developed her own process to do that called connection through conversation.  She also leads mindfulness workshops and leadership programmes for soulpreneurs.  If you want to get a flavour of her work then do sign up for the morning taster session she is running on 8 November – http://bit.ly/1a5ANay

What do new paradigm businesses look like?

paradigm-shift-ahead-7gracesIn this article Kate Griffiths turns traditional business concepts on their head by giving you a glimpse into the way business is going in the 21st century.  She also shares an example of a current new paradigm biz so that you can see this is more than wishful thinking. 

Earlier this week I was at a new paradigm networking coffee morning.  I love Link4Growth because it is not about stuffing people’s heads full of techniques that they are unlikely to ever use nor is it about giving the best elevator pitch in 60 seconds or less.  There is space to really connect with the essence of another person and to come together to build local community and out of that all kinds of business is done.  And yet even there, the old guard can still be found which is great in one way because it means L4G allows for diversity and breadth.  Who wants to find themselves surrounded by a bunch of mini mes?

Let me share with you an experience I had there.  I was talking to a couple of people about one of my favourite subjects, new paradigm business, when what I would define as a steretypical looking businessman blurted out

and what gives you the authority to talk about this?

Feeling a little mischievous I could not resist saying how old school such thinking was.  It was what I was brought up with – the notion that I had to prove I was good at something by getting the relevant qualification and at the time I bought into the concept and have a string of qualifications as long as your arm.  When I was pushed again, I mentioned my years of service in the people and change practice of a very well known blue chip professional services firm and that all that was needed.  Whilst the questioner was happy, what I really wanted to say is that in many ways qualifications are irrelevant now.  The key is to how you are being – tapping into our whole selves and standing in our greatness enables those around us to do the same.  In more practical terms, Nick Williams from Inspired Entrepreneur was on to something when he said you don’t need another qualification, you just need to know a little bit more than those you are working with.

When you boil it all down, being a new paradigm entrepreneur/ business starts with tapping into your passion and letting your intuition guide you as to how to bring it into the world and be paid for your wisdom.  Let me share with you a real live example of what I mean.

Last Saturday I had the privilege of attending Espiritu’s open day.  There were loads of people there and I met up with people I had not seen for a long time.  Just goes to show how Espiritu Launch Stiltwalkerimportant people are as a currency are in the new paradigm – it is the main way of getting the word out about your idea.  Even within the Espiritu Spa team, you can witness this multiplier effect in action – one of the therapists has known the founder for years since they met at a local mums networking group.  And what’s more it was an imaginative open day, one to remember with sights like a stilt walker outside.

So what is Espiritu?  This is an amazing concept as it stands for beauty from the inside out in other words they are a hair and beauty salon, which also offers therapies like Indian Head Massage and reflexology; as well as workshops for stress etc.  To get a sense of their essence, read the rest of their values:

Lisa and David at EspirituLisa, in many ways the strategic force behind the idea, has put together the kind of place that she would like to visit.  It has great style as you can see from what she’s wearing.  There are also some very special extra features for example the wash down area has special shiatsu massage chairs in it that can only be found in Harrods and Paris.  Excellent service is part of their values and is what will make them stand out and have people coming for more.

Lisa is a Mum and she knows what Mums love.  One detail I love is the bookcase in one corner stuffed full of great self help books with the bottom shelf dedicated to children’s books.  Espiritu has also introduced Mummy’s Monday where a primary age child or under gets a free cut whilst you are having your hair or beauty treatment.

The little touch I particularly liked was that each treatment room has a name.  My favourite was the Marilyn room which had adorned on its wall the following Marilyn Monroe quotation:

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.

It is this thoughtful approach and attention to detail as well as the novelty factor which will make the salon and spa such a success.

If you want to learn more about what a new paradigm business is then join us at The Manor House http://www.barefoottherapies.com/contact/ in Bygrave on 8 November for a taster session.  You can register here or contact us.  And if this article has inspired any thoughts, please feel free to share them below.

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Following a career in a blue chip company, Kate set up her own business a year ago.  She spends a lot of time coaching soulpreneurs who are passionate about what they do and want to find ways to make what they do more profitable.

The focus of Kate’s work is consulting to SMEs around what it means to be a new paradigm business.  The emphasis is on working intuitively with a focus on communication and mindfulness.  She is in the process of researching a potential project with organisations in the food industry that are seeking to turn the current food industry model upside down.

 

Monday’s Musing: what is the relationship between values and profit in business?

2013-03-24 21.30.02 In this article Kate Griffiths explores Dr Robertson’s theory that corruption is almost inevitable in highly successful businesses. She goes on to show that there are new paradigm businesses emerging as a result of the level of corruption and brokenness in the current system. She looks at two examples that offer a new way of doing business.

It has always seemed strange to me…The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second. John Steinbeck in Cannery Row

This is a comment that got Dr Peter Robertson thinking some very profound thoughts. And I was one of about 30 people who were privileged to hear him expound his theories recently. I have synthesised some of the main arguments below as it sets the stage for what I want to explore.

Using the S Curve model/ growth model something I have not seen since I completed my MBA 12 years ago, one of his main propositions was that as a company matures, it loses it values. Why? He showed the S curve as a life cycle that starts with Spring and ends with Winter. He explained that new companies come into being because of ideas that people have. They tend to be full of the energy, vitality and new life symbolic of Spring. However such Tigger-like energy is not sustainable in the long term – something else is needed. For a company to grow and become established it needs systems and processes. As it starts to build those, its income grows. With growth it needs more structures to support the existing structures. This is a cost on energy, which could have been used on innovation and over time leads to an inevitable increase in bureaucracy. In other words people become slaves to the system rather than seeing it as a support to the organisation’s purpose. According to Robertson this is how the values are leeched out of an organisation’s being.

Interesting that only this week Ian Livingstone, CEO of BT, announced the company’s new values and his opening line was when was the last time you looked at our values? The number of values has gone from 12 to six. The new set represents half the number that the company had previously but is this simplification process enough to ensure BT’s future?

Looking at Robertson’s premise raises other questions like is there an optimum size for an organisation. Previous research suggested that that was 150 TO 200 (Business Evolutionist, 2004). Thinking back to BT which appears highly regimented and inflexible when one looks at its decision-making processes, there is a bigger question here. Should we start thinking about companies having a life span – people are not immortal. Why do we think that companies can go on forever?

Going back to Steinbeck’s thoughts – why is it so? Why do such loathsome traits prevail? One reason could be because the predominant world view is such that society values worldly possessions and status above all else. Or does it?

Is it that having values is not consistent with the demand for constant growth as Robertson suggests in his theory? Reading an article on Nicola Horlick’s success, she claims that it came because she accentuated her femininity in a male-dominated world and nurtured her people, which gave her loyalty and the ability to rise the top.

So with leadership is that what it takes? The servant leader model – keep serving others and you will find your own success that way? Or is there a growing desire for something radically different? By that I mean a model that is built on a new paradigm.

I would like to share examples of two movements that are responding to the growing desire for change. Look at Link4Growth (L4G), an organisation in its infancy and yet it has grown significantly since it started in Watford. It now stretches from Cardiff to Peterborough. Each group that meets tends to be quite small which enables real cross-fertilisation of ideas to happen. Link4Growth is about bringing power back to local communities through practising the grace of connection.

It is so refreshing no one is trying to sell anything. The focus is on building community, getting to know who the local businesses are in your locale and helping each other to grow through sharing experience. The most successful in the group tend to be those who have reached out and given of their time and expertise to others. In six months, people are queuing up to buy their services. Those that are chasing the money leave very quickly because the old paradigm does not work here.

Another similar movement that is showing the way through its powerful creator, Meg Montgomery, is Ideabash. Ideabash is a network of conscious entrepreneurs who support each other and enjoy wellth. Wealth is about making money whereas wellth is about creating abundance for all by adding value to the world. It is a true example of a fifth dimension business.

Here in the West the twentieth century was the century of the self and contrary to that trend, I would argue that we need membership organisations like Link4Growth and Ideabash. This is because when we have the weight of a movement/ institution behind us we have greater impact and influence on the system. Every individual craves recognition – another word for that is power. Power in itself is neutral; it’s how it’s used that determines whether it is good or bad.

In short, there is a growing recognition that propping up the current system will not lead to long-term success. We are in a period of transition as a new paradigm emerges. We need to get comfortable with uncertainty and create a new type of leader. These leaders are ones with a vision and a voice that are unpinned by values. Success then comes when they have connections that will support and build on the initial momentum. Implied in that mix is the ability to communicate clearly and with compassion. This type of leadership can be seen through the examples offered by L4G and Ideabash. These are value-based organisations. The key lies in how these organisations evolve as they grow. If we look back at the seasons as plotted on the Growth curve, let us consider the following questions: What will these networks’ values look like when they have moved from Spring through Summer into Autumn? Will they be as strong and definable at that point?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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Kate Griffiths is a qualified coach, speaker, community leader and writer, who is fascinated by the power of conversation. She teaches business owners, leaders and teams how to communicate effectively to build stronger relationships and thereby improve the possibilities for innovation and collaboration.

Kate is also the Community Relations Director of the 7 Graces Project, a thriving community and emerging social enterprise.  The aim of the 7 Graces Project will be to provide an educational alternative and business incubator for a new generation of ethical, community-focused businesses.