I love to tweet about all kinds of subjects (you can connect @TheSumoGuy). Two of my most popular tweets were in relation to the time I failed to comment on my wife’s new jumper, and when I didn’t notice that she’d had her hair cut. My lack of observational skills was duly noted.
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Identifying well-defined behavioural patterns in the workplace may not be easy.
At least not with those that have the biggest potential to improve wellbeing and performance.
For this reason, it’s important to look at the discrete, individual level of habits. By empowering people with a knowledge of how to either build new positive habits, or stop a more damaging one in its tracks, we may help build high-performing teams.
We believe habits to be a source of untapped potential for an organization.
As human beings we like habits. They represent the known, give us control, and help us save energy and deal with stress.
Although we may perceive certain behaviour as good or bad in others, it is not always so clear-cut for ourselves. When we create a habit the brain stops participating fully in the decision-making process, and doesn’t distinguish between good and bad habits.
So what are the tactics that help us take a step back, to first identify the good and bad behavioural patterns in our own lives and teams, and have a better chance of changing them?
We have developed the 7S model, comprised of seven behaviour ‘hacks’.
Inspired by Covey, the following elements are the seven hacks of highly effective habits. They are the result of a decade of executive teaching and research.
The typical approach to change is that of a significant effort towards achieving an ambitious goal. By definition, this significant effort is deployed now and again, which may or may not lead to success. Yet a much smaller (and therefore more sustainable) effort on a daily basis is likely to yield a greater benefit. Daily implementation is key.
Making it small also increases the chances of creating a new habit, since it gains ‘automaticity’ in less time. Researchers at University College London found the amount of time for behaviours of varying complexity to become automatic ranged from 18 to 254 days. For example, creating the habit of drinking a glass of water took much less time than doing 50 sit-ups, with the authors finding a plateau to be reached, on average, after 66 days.
Setting SMART (specific, measurable, agreed-upon, realistic, time-based) objectives helps to achieve professional targets and the same detail-oriented approach can help on a personal level.
Set a finish line. Rather than making an open commitment to always take the staircase, start with a commitment to always take the staircase for the remainder of the month. Achieving your objective will give you the motivation to keep going.
Given the daily approach, another key detail is when in the day you will commit to the change – try and fix the same time each day.
Support your new action by placing it next to an existing one. Triggers give us a broader view of the behaviour and make it easier to implement, or displace, through considering the habit loop. A cue or signal exists before the habit, which then produces a reward. Rather than focusing on the behaviour itself, can you change the cue or reward?
Considering the habit loop in its entirety also shifts the focus from the ‘hard’ routine to the much easier cue. Once we enter into the process we’re committed to follow-through.
Share your change with your family, with your friends, or with your boss. Sharing your change makes you accountable. And we all need to be held accountable.
In the workplace, adding ‘bottom-up’ to the usual ‘top-down’ accountability has much potential. Leaders are often gauged on their credibility by matching their actions to their words. By sharing your own critical behaviours with your team you are creating a healthy pressure to follow through.
Tracking the completion, or absence, of a certain behaviour over time creates a chain.
This logic is used in many apps today. For example, one may achieve special badges for maintaining a streak of daily practice such as meditation. If you have a bad day after 150 days of completing the same practice and the last thing on your mind is meditation, the simple fact of having completed 150 days will probably get you over the line to complete 151.
An extreme example comes from the former British Olympic marathon runner Ron Hill. In January of 2017, at age 78, he brought to an end 19,032 consecutive days of running at least one mile. Again, we may imagine that on many occasions during those 52-plus years he may not have wanted to run, with the power of the streak the only thing of relevance. While running sick and with chest pains on the final day of the streak he felt it unfair on his family to continue, so decided to bring the streak to an end.
In an increasingly digital world, the physical environment matters more than ever. It is a powerful determinant of our behaviour.
Consider, for example, your home environment and a commitment to completing morning yoga. One of the keys to building this into the daily routine would be to have the yoga mat in plain view. That way, rather than blearily fetching coffee as part of your daily stumble out of bed, unfurling that mat is a more natural part of the daily flow. It’s a similar, even simpler principle to that of laying out your workout clothes the night before an early-morning training session.
At work, simple changes could include a standing desk, new vending machine content, or changes to the staircase in order to make it more inviting. We can all think about redesigning our surroundings to support behaviour change and nudge ourselves and our teams to implement the critical few behaviours that support an improved culture.
What we often perceive to be our own behaviours are due to the influence of our family, friends and colleagues. Thinking of our social environment will allow us greater insight to the habit-hacking process. Think of who you spend time with, both personally and professionally. Who are the people that will help you most in the formative stages of a new behaviour?
We may also think of our leadership activity and the design of teams. Research has shown the positive impact of placing a poor performer next to a high performer, with positive ‘spillovers’ created in terms of productivity, effectiveness and client satisfaction with the work. The research suggests pairing employees with opposite strengths, as well as separating toxic workers.
Are all 7Ss to be employed in every case? Probably not. That is part of the habit-hacking process: finding out which ones are most important for you to gain traction in behaviour change, either to create and sustain a new healthy habit, or stop a more negative one in its tracks.
About the authors
Steven P. MacGregor and Rory Simpson are the authors of Chief Wellbeing Officer.
Steven is the founder of The Leadership Academy of Barcelona with recent clients including McKinsey, Salesforce and Santander. Rory is the Chief Learning Officer at Telefónica, and formerly Associate Dean of London Business School. He has delivered leadership seminars in over 25 countries from China to Iran and Chile.
Based on analyst predictions, today’s workplace is on the brink of disruption. New connected technologies, such as AI, machine learning and cognitive collaboration practices, promise to change the nature of the workplace as we know it. Yet, stories of burnout, stress, inflexible policies and hiring practises still make the headlines.
As any manager knows, there is no simple strategy for becoming a great boss.
Ultimately, you have to inspire and motivate others to deliver results – but how can you encourage them to follow your lead? What personality traits and attributes do you need to win people’s hearts and minds?
Like listening, as opposed to speaking.
Like failure, as opposed to success.
Like unexpected, as opposed to as expected.
When events don’t go quite as we plan, our learning potential goes way up.
I often reflect on the many lessons about peak performance – not just in sport, but in all areas of work and life – that I’ve learnt as a direct result of the injuries I’ve sustained over the years, at the gym.
These thoughts have become particularly relevant in recent years: as I’ve gotten older or, perhaps, just more cocksure. So, for your benefit, let me share with you eight lessons for peak performance, as attested to by my aching joints!
Elite athletes and professional sportspeople never enter into training or competition without thoroughly warming-up. So, why do I repeatedly think I don’t need to? Because I don’t understand its value – that is, until I get injured. Then I do. Or until I do warm-up and see the step-up in performance. I see its value then, too.
So, from here on, I don’t want ever to be underprepared. And to ensure that happens, I want to make preparation a fundamental part of my routine – not some hassle before I can start.
Build a ritual. We don’t want to make the task dependent on recalling why it’s important to warm-up. We want warming-up to be the process. It’s just what we do. And not only for the gym, but for any performance moment. A meeting. A presentation or pitch. A project kick-off. Have a ritual that you can lean on.
Lesson #1: Take your preparation seriously.
Lack of concentration for the duration
With a touch of slapstick about it, I can pull off a lift with a weight well-beyond my bodyweight without a problem. And then promptly hit my head on the bar or trip over a weight plate. Of course, I keep smiling, pretending it’s nothing and that I’m unaffected. But I am.
This isn’t so much a temporary lapse in concentration as it is allowing my concentration to switch off prematurely. Instead, I need to recognise I’m still in the performance moment and in the performance environment for the duration – and act accordingly.
An example of this performance error at work is the dead-time following an important meeting, pitch, presentation or interview, when the performance event is seemingly over – but we’re still in the company of our stakeholders. The accompanied walk to the lift, for example. We need to stay on our ‘A’ Game until we’ve left the building and are travelling home. Anything less is premature – and sub-performance in these moments will have a consequence.
Lesson #2: Stay in the performance zone until the very end.
I’ll let your imaginations run wild with the very many amusing ways ego-led thinking has lead me to injury at the gym. Suffice to say, I’m not making solid, objective, goal-focused decisions. And performance suffers as a result.
Ego plays a potentially destructive role in performance moments everywhere in life. But if we want an area to focus on for maximum performance-enhancing effect, take a look at the role ego plays in your decision-making.
There are two primary thinking traps when it comes to making decisions: blind spots and ego. Take your ego out of the equation by developing the habit of meta-cognition. That is: thinking about the thinking. How am I doing the thinking around this decision? How much of this is led by evidence? How much is rooted in fact? And how much of this is my ego talking? If I reduced my egotistical thinking by just 5%, what different decisions would I make? What’s my ego-based goal here: approval or control?
Lesson #3: Drop the ego.
It always raises in me an ironic smile that I can lift weights far heavier than my bodyweight without issue; and then in that same session, hurt myself when I move to the very light weights. The reason is complacency and a lack of respect for the task. I drop my good habits – and get injured as a result.
No matter what the performance requirement, I want to treat every event with maximum respect and deliver my best performance, as standard. For example, at work: whatever the monetary value of a deal or project, I want to deliver a wholly professional effort. In my business: I want to deliver outstanding personal service to all of my clients. In life: whatever the opportunity, I want to give it everything.
Lesson #4: Respect all performance events, big and small.
Not listening to my body
Last year, I damaged my left shoulder and it kept me away from my full routine for over six months. It was deeply frustrating. That injury stemmed from not listening to my body. I tweaked my shoulder at the very end of a session: a warning that, had I heeded it and stayed off my shoulder for a short while, might have saved me a lot of pain and heartache. But I didn’t. And then next session, combined with an absent warm-up ritual, launched straight into full lifts – and that was that.
Our bodies are continually communicating with us. Not enough food or water. Not enough sleep. Too much stress. Too many things to think about. Best (and worst) times of day. Intuition. Instinct. Gut reaction. But we often push those communications to one side in service of some outside-in ‘priority’. But we can’t give what we don’t have. And if we don’t have our health, we don’t have anything. Start listening to what your body is telling you.
Lesson #5: Listen to what your body is telling you.
Breaking my own rules
When it comes to exercise, I have rules and rituals that significantly contribute to my best performance. They range from the general to the specific, are personal to me and, having been developed with the input of many years of experience, serve me well. They are also very brain-friendly ways to recall the information. Simple mnemonics that are easy to hold in mind.
But, occasionally, something in the environment will prompt me to break a rule or skip a ritual. To lift more than I should. To go too fast, too quickly. To mess with my carefully planned sequence of training days. And injuries follow.
For any performance activity you do repeatedly, develop your own performance rules: a set of principles that facilitate a high-level of personal performance, as standard. And then stick to them! (Meaning: no ad hoc or ill-considered diversions off the plan.) Like an aeroplane’s pre-flight checklist, your rules and rituals can seem dull, unsophisticated and unnecessary, in and or themselves. But they are what setup peak performance.
Lesson #6: Stick religiously to your well-defined performance rules.
Getting through it
When I let the focus slip into powering through an exercise, I’m liable to get injured because I relegate other thoughts that contribute to personal performance (thinking, tempo, rhythm, form, etc.) behind just getting it done. And that’s fine for a low-level task; but not for a performance moment. Not when the stakes are high and the quality of the result really matters.
What’s the opposite of getting through it? Getting into it! When I get into my set, everything starts working together. And not only do I drastically minimise my chances of getting injured – I also get far bigger returns for my efforts. Slowing down and relaxing into the task at hand delivers higher returns, everywhere. Resist the busy person’s mantra of “no time to slow down” and try it. Watch how performance improves.
Lesson #7: Relax into your performance event.
Going it alone
I would rate myself as a well-above-average gym goer (if I do say so, myself!), in terms of knowledge, experience and results. But that status I’ve given myself can come with issues. In particular, I can forget the significant benefits of outside perspective, choosing instead to go it alone.
It’s only since introducing a physio that I’ve got the detailed feedback that showed me an issue I’ve been overlooking; new insights to understand how I’ve actually been exacerbating the problem; and new strategies to correct the root problem.
Professional sportspeople wouldn’t dream of not having a coach. Anyone in a high-performance role shouldn’t either. Get a coach or a mentor. Find someone who can promote awareness and responsibility in you. And find ways to introduce quality feedback to your performance.
Lesson #8: Work with a performance partner.
Bringing it all together
When I work with my physio and she has me doing really small, simple BUT incredibly challenging exercises that work tiny muscles and joints, I’m reminded: it’s all interconnected. It’s not just about the big muscle groups and the major lifts; but about all the little intricacies of the working machine that together achieve peak performance.
So, as you look to raise your base standard so every performance is excellent, find ways to incorporate ALL of these lessons into your approach and make them ALL part of your daily practice.
SOURCE: Dan Beverly
Dan Beverly is a leadership and performance coach, helping high-achieving professional women embrace the pivotal career moments.
‘No, not that one!’ my four-year-old shouts from his bed when I’m getting his clothes out for the day.
On the inside I’m about to explode. On the outside I’m showing my best impression of understanding-mummy-who-isn’t-getting-desperate and ask him, calmly:
“Okay, sweetie, not the red jumper, not the blue one and no t-shirt either… you need to wear something so what would you like?”
I will never forget my surprise when I tried asking him for the first time and it actually worked. I had already given up hope for that day.
“First I want to eat. Then I want to wear my Cars t-shirt,’ he answered. Yes! He’s happy, I’m happy.
Hitting a brick wall
This is actually quite similar to many situations that happen in the workplace. Imagine the scene: You’ve produced a thorough plan to ensure your department can make the desired steps to improve efficiency and get rid of a few bureaucratic procedures. You have asked for input beforehand from a number of employees. Next, you present your plan in a meeting and what happens? All you get are moans and criticism: ‘That’ll never work’ is basically the message. It’s the same story every time and the same people who get in the way of achieving change.
One of the biggest misunderstandings here is that we feel like the resistance is something inherent in others. It’s your employees or your colleagues that are resisting your plans.
- They don’t react in the way you would like them to.
- They are being tricky.
- They put up barriers against innovation.
- They’re clearly resisting, right? While you want to get ahead so badly.
But what is happening to you while all this is going on? Aren’t you resisting their reactions as much as they’re resisting your plans?
Resistance can be a two-way street
You can probably explain perfectly well why it annoys you: you want to move on, make things better. They will benefit from it in the end, their jobs might even be at stake if you don’t make this change…
The reasons for resistance can always be brought back to a fear of losing something or a strong desire to reach something new. As for your own resistance, you can often define it quite easily. It makes perfect sense.
The funny thing is, the same is true for their resistance. Like you, they have their fears and desires. They just aren’t as obvious to see, because all you see is their defence mechanisms: putting their foot down, being tricky, trying to stall things.
Ask the right questions
If you want them to come onboard, you will have to find out what these ‘tricky people’ want or need.
Behind their ‘We’ve tried this a hundred times before’ you might find they fear becoming invested and then being disappointed (again). Or they want to try out a completely new approach, because they want to develop themselves.
Knowing these fears or desires creates an opening to incorporate them in your discussions about the new plans. They may contain some valuable information to help transform your plans into reality. Bringing these fears or desires to the surface, means you can turn their resistance into constructive contributions.
It comes down to the following five steps:
1. First of all, repeat what they say, using their literal words
As in the earlier example, you feedback: ‘Okay, you say this’ll never work…’
It’s the simplest way to show that you’ve heard them and taken them seriously. You acknowledge what they’ve said, which puts people more at ease. They no longer feel the need to repeat their point of view.
2. Then turn the focus round and ask about what they (do) want
‘And what would you like to have happen?’
You’re inviting them to think along with you, to give you a clue of what’s behind their resistance to your plans. It’s more useful to take on board ‘testing the plan first’ than ‘you don’t get us’. You may need to help shift their focus more than once to get to a desired outcome instead of a problem. Hold on, it pays off in the end.
3. Repeat their answer, literally again
Again, acknowledge what’s being said. And moreover: confirm it to help them take in what they’ve just said. Resist the urge to add in any of your own words, since it is clearly a sensitive matter and you never know what might trigger a more defensive reaction instead of cooperation.
4a. If what they say simply isn’t possible, say that and go back to step 2
If need be, you can explain why this isn’t possible for you/the organisation. For example: ‘Keeping this the way it is isn’t going to work; we have set out a growth strategy and we are dedicated to making it happen. So, knowing that, what would you like to have happen then?’
4b. If what they say is possible, explain how you will incorporate their contribution
In this way, you start negotiating how your desires can come together. You suggest what you think you can do with their input and give them a chance to react to this as well.
5. Check if you’re on the same page
It’s so tempting to stop here! Often this step gets overlooked but it makes the difference between ‘asking for input’ (and doing your own thing with it, a Change 2.0 approach) and ‘creating a desired outcome together’ (a Change 3.0 approach).
Even asking: ‘Is that okay for you or is there anything else?’ can be enough to explicitly check for real commitment.
If it turns out not to have been enough, start over.
Like with my four-year-old, you will have to manage your own state and emotions to be able to do this. Every time you get a ‘tricky’ reaction, you are being pulled back into your own resistance, which you will either have to set aside for the time-being or deal with it first. You may need to ask yourself what you would like to have happen, knowing that others may not just go along with your plans.
The good news is, following these simple steps does work nine times out of ten. And, as a bonus, you ‘train’ people to take ownership of what they do want, as much as what they don’t want. If you keep putting the focus on what they do want when things aren’t going the way they’d like, you’ll see that they will start doing this unprompted.
Complaining doesn’t come free anymore. You convey the message: ‘We will take you seriously but it requires you to go beyond telling us what doesn’t work as well’. As long as you’re willing to go along with them within your boundaries… like letting them have their breakfast first.
About the authors
Wendy Nieuwland and Maaike Nooitgedagt are the authors of the best-selling Dutch business book, Change 3.0, which has been translated and updated for the UK business audience. Based on 7 Essential Principles, Change 3.0 demonstrates how leaders and managers can create and sustain lasting change within their organisation
“The first job of any leader is to inspire trust.” – Stephen R. Covey
Scan the headlines and in minutes we can form the opinion that trust in leaders is in short supply. What about you? Do people trust you? You’re only truly a leader when other people want to follow you. Trust is essential to earning the respect and commitment of followers. Take a look at the 10 ways to earn trust below, and as you do so you may want to assess yourself. Where are you already earning trust, and where may you have some work to do?
1. Be credible
Do people actually believe what you say? Do you follow words with actions? The key to being credible is to honour your commitments: do what you say you will. Warning: you may need to take a reality check before promising your new team that you will the leader who – finally – turns things around. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
2. Be purposeful
Leaders earn trust by defining and reminding the team of their purpose – their ‘why’. The most trusted leaders articulate purpose in ways that followers can understand, identify with and commit to act upon.
3. Be clear about expectations
Communicate – in writing, when speaking – with complete clarity and simplicity. Set out expectations. Lack of clarity can be interpreted as being vague in order to deceive, or fudging an issue because you just don’t know the answers and won’t admit it. Obfuscation will cause confusion and erode trust.
4. Be consultative
Trusted leaders seek the input of team members on major developments and subsequent decisions. They give fair hearing and listen well to what their team members say and give credit where it’s due when members’ contributions are adopted.
5. Be available
OK, maybe not round the clock, nor to molly coddle people; but at least be clear on when you are available and not. People can soon lose faith in a leader who’s nowhere to be seen, or constantly closeted in mysterious meetings. One of my best bosses, respected by clients and employees alike, was known for ‘being available’. He had a habit of saying, “I’ve got five minutes now / in an hour / this afternoon” – and he meant it. In return for his time, we soon learned that clarity and brevity were required.
6. Be accountable
Leaders who walk their talk don’t just hold team members accountable for their actions – they hold themselves accountable too.
7. Be realistic
Positivity is generally a good thing in a leader – being around a pessimist can spread fear. But don’t dress it up if things are bad; that’s a shortcut to losing trust. Be honest about the situation and realistic about what can be achieved.
8. Be considerate
Showing consideration for people’s opinions and feelings, accepting that they may be very different to your own, will help earn followers’ trust. Whether someone’s simply having a tough time and needs compassionate leave or counselling, or they’re looking to boost their skills, you’ll build trust when people know they can count on your support.
9. Be consistent
Followers won’t trust an inconsistent leader. If you agree to a brave suggestion from one team member on Monday and immediately reject another from them on Thursday, you’ll earn a reputation as a leader who is unpredictable and changes with the wind. In the same vein, having favourites is a sure-fire way to lose the trust of those you lead. If you want to play Machiavelli and manipulate people you may recruit one or two ‘lieutenants’ who will follow you (to a point), but you will never earn the trust of your whole team, or indeed the wider organisation.
10. Be trusting of others
Once you’ve communicated the team’s purpose, clarified expectations and accountability, trust people to do their best. If you’ve been clear with others, you’re not trusting blindly, but wisely. Set the tone by trusting others and in so doing, you’ll earn their trust.
“A man who trusts nobody is apt to be the kind of man nobody trusts.” – Harold Macmillan
About the author
Dawn Sillett has been designing and delivering training workshops and executive coaching for over 15 years.
Author of: The Feedback Book
Maintaining performance today is no longer simply about having an annual appraisal and telling employees “you must try harder”. Research demonstrates that regular discussions about performance and providing feedback to the people you manage is a more effective way to motivate them and keep them on track.Distilled into this single, handy-sized volume are 50 tips, advice and techniques to help any manager become quickly skilled at regularly discussing performance, setting goals and objectives and providing the necessary feedback to ensure individuals and teams thrive in the company. Structured into five key parts, each of the 50 concise chapters also contains a practical exercise to help the reader understand and implement the concepts and ideas of this book.
The advice to business is loud and clear – Plan wisely for independent talent to get the best value and returns.
This comes from the largest global survey of its kind to date conducted by Talmix and IR Connect.
The survey of 40,000 consultants found that 60% say use of independent talent increased in the last 12 months. This trend is expected to continue and over half expect more businesses to use online staffing platforms to access this talent, taking over from using personal networks.
Of the consultants surveyed, 72% believe that companies would benefit from help and advice in budgeting for the independent workforce. Respondents identified the biggest impact on project budgets is the urgency of a project and issues relating to overrunning projects, outweighing strategic and complex projects. There is some concern among the consultant community that they are seen only as a short-term resource to address this, and that better planning would avoid this last-minute panic buying.
Sandeep Dhillon, Talmix CEO, commented: “The continuing uptake of independent talent isn’t a surprise as it’s a fast solution to filling the skills gap which all businesses are encountering. What our consultants tell us most clearly is that companies need to plan to embed this workforce ahead of projects hitting urgent/overrun problems to get the best returns and value.”
“At Talmix, we want to provide practical support to businesses aiming to build independent talent into their plans. Together with the insight on trends from our consultants, we’ve collated over 70,000 data points globally to create rate cards so that companies find it easier to budget for this workforce. We see this as the next step needed to create a fluid workforce mixing the best full-time and independent talent and returning the best value to business,” Sandeep concluded.
If you own a health and fitness brand or have a great idea for one now is the time to consider how your brand story can include making a contribution in the world.
Let’s look at how a brand can make a profit at the same time as contributing to a particular charitable cause.
Fitness is bigger business now than ever before. Gym membership in the UK has increased approximately 4% year on year from 2015 to 2018. The UK industry is worth a staggering £4.9 billion (according to The 2018 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report). That is an increase of £0.6 billion since 2015 and, with that growth likely to increase in the coming years of data driven health and fitness, it’s the industry to be in.
Fitness apparel, for example, is no longer just about the big names. Small boutique brands are appearing – each with their own unique take on what looks and feels good in the gym.
Beyond style, functionality and quality (which should be givens for every brand) – what is there to help a consumer choose one over the other? The answer lies in choosing to prioritise social responsibility in your brand.
The fitness industry has traditionally had strong links with charity. For example, the Virgin Money London Marathon is the world’s largest one-day fundraising event. Over 75% of the 40,000+ runners who participated in 2018 raised money for charity.
In the UK every year there are approximately 807,000 running events. There are 100,000 members of British Cycling and over 140,000 active triathletes running, swimming and cycling. So, with such large numbers of keen people willing to push their limits in the name of doing good, why are the fitness brands not living up to this generous giving mentality?
The answer is, of course, profit. They are there to make money. And that’s exactly where they are missing the point. Doing good is also good for your bottom line.
Examples of profitable companies, in a variety of sectors, making a contribution to the world include:
- FIGS – Provide medical scrubs and other clothing, whilst donating thousands of scrubs to medical projects around the world
- TOMS – For every pair of TOMS shoes brought, they provide a pair of shoes to someone in need
- S’WELL – Providing sustainable water bottles and coolers that support UNICEFs water projects
- ASUNO – Providing premium quality fitness and yoga clothing that supports charitable actions with every purchase
- SOAPBOX – A one-for-one model donating soap bars for good health and sanitation with every product purchased
- VITAE LONDON – Each watch purchased supplies a child with two sets of a school uniform, a bag and footwear to see them through the year in Africa
As these companies show, doing good is good for business. As so many fitness fans are also keen charity fundraisers it makes perfect economic sense to combine the two if your brand is in this space.
There are a variety of ways of approaches and you need to find the one which suits your business model, internal resources, and target market best:
- Donate a percentage of your profits. Every penny helps when it comes to charity, and if you are rocking a healthy turnover then even 1% contribution will make a huge impact.
- Partner with a charity. Support a charity directly with co-branding and awareness campaigns; keep your profits but co-advertise to bring more awareness for your charity partner. Make it easy for your customers to donate, promote the charity on your website, social media and in your newsletters.
- Empower your employees. Support and sponsor employee fundraising days, put on an event, get your employees family and friends involved. Target your employees that are most passionate at volunteering.
- Buy one, give one. Adopt this into your business model. Do you have a product that could help others? Support a cause that compliments your product and donate one for one.
- Sponsor events. Becoming a corporate sponsor for an event is not only a huge help to the charity, it provides your company with a great advertising opportunity.
- Develop your story. Customers want to know the story, envelope themselves in the cause and believe that your company is seriously in it to do good, build your brand story to tell them.
All of these options show your brand’s commitment to social responsibility by helping those in need.
Don’t just focus on profit. Your brand will be even more successful when you are part of something bigger.
About the author
Ben Moreland is co-founder of Asuno, a Manchester-based fitness and yoga clothing brand passionate about making an impact on the world. Using the city as inspiration, the team design beautiful, premium quality, functional fitness clothing that saves lives. Every item in the range is linked to an individual charity and each purchase provides a specific contribution, from helping to alleviate hunger to providing access to water and helping children build an identity.
- 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon: The Runners’ Stories – https://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com
- 2018 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report – http://www.leisuredb.com
- 2016 – More people are taking part in endurance sport than ever before – https://www.sports-insight.co.uk/trends-features/
Goals. Values. Beliefs.
The personal development trifecta.
I create and commit to powerfully inspiring goals. I come to know – and align – to my values. And I choose to adopt empowering beliefs. And so: I can achieve anything.
Knowing – and aligning with – our values (those things most important to us) is one of the most powerful personal development steps we can take. And not least because:
Sometimes, our values play-out in negative ways.
Don’t think so? Here are some examples …
Perhaps I value a strong work ethic.
It’s played a big part of my success to date. I’ve worked hard. Harder than the other guy. I’ve stuck diligently to my project and had success as a result.
But now I notice I’ve come to associate success as only ever following significant hard work. And so I sidestep or overlook more direct routes to my goal because it can’t be success without the strife that must come beforehand. Because I’ve not yet earnt that success. Because I don’t deserve it.
And so I harbour the belief that success without strife is not success, not earnt, not deserved and not for me. Hmm.
Perhaps I value organisation.
And my highly-organised approach to work has me in total command of what I do. I’m known for it! But now I notice I can’t start anything unless everything is laid-out in advance. Unless everything is neat and tidy (even though I know that’s not how careers or businesses really happen). Unless everything is certain – which it never can be. Hmm.
Perhaps I value learning and knowledge.
What I have learnt and what I know have been huge factors in my success. I love putting my deep knowledge to work. And revelling in the spirit of continual learning and improvement. But now I notice I am incapacitated by my need to (over-) educate. And rather than getting into action with what I do know, I choose to stay stuck – although I hide it behind my latest learning project. Hmm.
Perhaps I value perfection.
And so my high-standards drive me forward and achieve amazing outputs. But now I notice I’m missing deadlines. And that nothing is ever good enough. Including me. Hmm.
What’s the lesson here?
Examine your values.
Think about how they are playing out: positively and negatively. And notice where those well-intentioned and positive values are harbouring beliefs that actually sit in conflict to your goals and objectives.
And from there: rewrite the story around those values. And how best you’ll choose to put them to work.