Born after our members expressed a desire to stay connected and learning, All Together’s CEO Circles are small, Advisor-led events in which CEOs can discuss various business ‘hot topics.’ What comes from each of these gatherings, neatly packaged under our ‘Three Things’ banner, is a wealth of actionable, forward thinking advice, designed to be implemented right now by CEOs looking to build better businesses.
As the last of the restrictions are lifted and, hopefully, we approach a new phase in the fight against Covid, we thought it was pertinent to gather the ‘Three Things’ from each CEO Circle in the year so far, starting, importantly, with January’s wellbeing focused event.
Leadership and COVID: Keeping Teams Engaged and Motivated
Karen Callaghan, founder of live+learning and ex-people director at innocent drinks, brought her wealth of experience to a group of CEOs concerned about their teams after long periods of uncertainty and nearly a year of #WFH.
Each at the table had developed their own systems for remaining connected and motivated, so it was hard to pick just three, but we thought the advice below would stand the test of time post-lockdown:
1) Stop working. Seriously.
You can’t effectively lead a team if you’re struggling yourself. Take time away from the job and be with others from outside of that world.
2) Think outside the box to support your employees
It doesn’t have to be expensive to support your team. Anonymous monthly surveys can give a read on the room, while group exercise classes boost endorphins or a company Headspace account might go a long way.
3) Notice the small stuff
Don’t let your team feel invisible: praise even the small wins as this will aide motivation.
Pitching in a Pandemic
A highly requested topic. Exploring when and how to bag investment during Covid was clearly on our CEOs’ minds, perhaps unsurprisingly after so long in survival mode. Hosted by Venture Capital expert Nick Telson (Pitch Deck) and Private Equity expert Miles Otway (Connection Capital), this discussion produced highly actionable advice from both sides of the funding world.
1) Research and understand your audience
Investors are after different things, make sure you are prepared for the person you are pitching to.
2) Plan beyond the moment
How much do you need to raise and what stake are you willing to give up? Think both short and longer term to avoid getting stuck later.
3) Choosing an investor works both ways
Make sure the investor you pick is the right option for you, ask for references from other businesses. This may feel alien, but it’s important and useful.
Purposeful Business: Doing Good and Doing Well
Purpose-driven NED and Advisor, Sally Bailey (previously CEO at White Stuff) believes business can and should be a force for good. With a full house of highly motivated Circle attendees, Sally curated three steps to driving purpose in any business, starting with you – the CEO.
1) Really know your purpose
If something is not completely authentic, customers will see right through it. You should be able to clearly define what motivates you and why so you can inject it into your business.
2) Do more good than you talk about.
Prompt people to see your efforts, rather than shouting from the rooftops. It really is true that actions speak louder…
3) Devoted training days embed your purpose
Keep a baseline of passion throughout your business by having purpose-focused training days. These maintain your core values and allow those who aren’t so aligned to reevaluate.
Build A Better Business by Enabling Your Female Leaders
How can business leaders really enable the women in their teams, ultimately benefiting from a balanced and multi-faceted senior team? Friend of All Together and founder of Better Conversations, Sehaam Cyrene steered this discussion aimed at building CEO’s confidence when it comes to enabling their female leaders.
1) Emotional connection is a business amplifier
Ask and be honestly interested in how people are to build trust between you and your employees. Connection helps an easy exchange of ideas.
2) Encourage self-advocacy
Women are less likely to self advocate. Encourage them to use language that will highlight the value that their work brings to the team. See how here.
3) Establish roadmaps
Where do the women in your business want to be in the future? And how can you work together to get them there?
Building Your Board: When, Why and How
After a couple of month’s break following the launch of the ‘Three Things’ Summit, we returned to CEO Circles in July, with hosts Christine Cross (Oddbox, Coca Cola) and Directorbank’s George Heppenstall. The pair joined us for a hands-on discussion around building a board as an SME, offering ‘Three Things’ to ensure early boardroom success:
1) Work out what you need
Thinking about what you want and need from a board is key to ensure you hire the right person. Where do you want to go from here and where are the gaps in your team to achieving this?
2) Build your board early
The earlier you get a board together, the quicker you will benefit from their experience and the structure outside influences can bring.
3) Make your chair the first person you call
Something to celebrate? Call your chair. Trouble brewing? Call your chair. Decision to make? You get the picture. Your chair should be the first person you call, whatever the situation.
A huge thank you to everyone who has attended or hosted a CEO Circle so far this year, making them such active and insightful sessions. We have 3 hugely exciting Circles planned for Autumn, with truly exception hosts ready to offer their three pieces of advice. We hope many of you will join us.