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An exciting young prospect made their professional sports debut at 16 years old, making them the youngest player in the club’s history and breaking a nearly 50-year-old record.  Within twelve months, the player moved to one of Europe’s leading teams, the club retired their shirt number to remember one of their own and to inspire other young players. An international debut followed six months later, and they became one of the youngest players to represent their country at major tournaments.

It's a story that sounds like a movie script, and for those old enough, a little bit Roy of the Rovers. But it’s a true story. The story of Jude Bellingham, the England and Borussia Dortmund footballer. A player who is redefining maturity, application, and leadership for the next generation. One, who at every stage of his development, had someone take a risk, based on his skills, not his experience.

There’s been a lot written in recent months about the recruitment challenges many businesses face, all on top of the various economic demands that need addressing. Organisations and industries need to innovate how they advertise and engage prospective employees. With a changing landscape, attracting young people into a business has never been more challenging. Social media is now a legitimate way to share how exciting your vacancies, development, and progression opportunities are.

But organisations don’t always get it right and advertise a vacancy asking for industry or business discipline experience, at pay levels suggesting a more junior level. And while this is not exclusive to roles for school leavers, college students, or University graduates, these are age groups disproportionately affected. There seems to be a disjoint between a recruitment crisis and high youth unemployment, made worse by reports about affordable housing, disposable income, and for those lucky enough to attend University, crippling student debts.

Finding a long-term solution for the perceived skills gap might be easier if we gambled on enthusiastic, fresh-thinking, and free-spirited individuals looking for the first step on their career ladder. As the frequently quoted sports phrase says, ‘If they’re good enough, they’re old enough.’ 

Attributed to legendary Manchester United manager Sir Matt Busby it has been used many times over the intervening 60 years across multiple sports, describing many exciting prospects. It has not always come to fruition that the individuals in question have reached their full potential, but we would never have known if someone didn’t have the confidence to take that risk. The flip side is discovering a diamond, someone who has a massive impact on your team and results. Just look at Jude Bellingham!

Have a brilliant week!

David Rogers, Chief Business Narrator, Fuelled Fit and Fired Up Ltd

As December approaches, it is a great time to reflect on what has been accomplished professionally and personally over the previous 12 months. It can be a fascinating process as priorities change over time, with perceived crucial tasks not coming to fruition or simply falling by the wayside. When reviewing those specific activities, we may cite time, or specifically the lack of it, as the reason for them not making it over the line.

Our time is stretched even further during the holidays as a balance is struck between shopping, catching up with friends and family, and the constant stream of parties. And in 2022, we have a winter World Cup for good measure.

Now I know that not everyone reading this is a football fan (or soccer for my American readers), but over the last week, a new theme has emerged, one where increased amounts of stoppage time at the end of matches. FIFA, the governing body, is having a concerted effort to closely monitor the amount of time the ball is not in play. Covering such situations as goal celebrations, substitutions, injuries, or the dreaded VAR decisions, the minutes are starting to add up.

England faced Iran in their first match, which lasted close to 118 minutes, following an injury to the Iranian goalkeeper, eight goals, and eleven substitutions. Perhaps an extreme case, but that’s 28 minutes of unproductive time across 90 minutes. And that got me thinking.

What if we viewed our own time in the same way?

Where are you most unproductive? And Why?

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Image: Mario Klassen

Unfortunately, unlike the World Cup, adding time to the end of our day isn’t an option. But we can use a straightforward technique to build the perception of additional seconds, minutes, and hours. Which we can use to improve productivity, reduce procrastination, and creates a better balance in our lives. 

I summarise it as the 3D’s; Decide, Delegate, and Dump.

To help you prioritise everything on your daily, weekly, or monthly task list, first score everything out of five across three key areas: 

How IMPORTANT is the task in achieving my goals? (5 = Significant Importance, 1= Significant Unimportance)

How EXCITED are you about completing this task? (5 = Hugely Excited, 1= Hugely Apathetic)

How much VALUE is completing this task going to bring? (5 = High Value, 1 = Low Value)

For this final question, value is as much about the emotional reward as financial results. There is a huge benefit in doing stuff that makes you feel good.

Once completed, you can rank the tasks, highest to lowest, based on their aggregate score. Those at the top are crucial tasks that are enjoyable and add significant value. Completing these activities will be a breeze. All you need to do is DECIDE how far down the list you want to go before you DELEGATE.

Delegation can take many forms, and remember, the list may contain personal and professional tasks. You may allocate jobs to employees and family members or be a solo entrepreneur who requires outside resources for activities outside your skills or experience. Whichever it is, be conscious that not every task needs to be completed. DECIDE what to DUMP.

Those tasks at the bottom of the list are unimportant, unenjoyable, and add no value. Why waste time and energy on them when you can be more productive doing those at the top of the list?

This week try changing your perception of time and how you use it.

And in the interests of time, that’s it for this edition of Unleash The Power.

Have a brilliant week!

David Rogers, Chief Business Narrator, Fuelled Fit and Fired Up Ltd

In last week’s newsletter, I spoke briefly about the divergent mix of ages and generations that make up modern workplaces. Long gone are the days when there was a dominant single age group. And this should be seen as an exciting prospect that brings different strengths and views to every work environment. An asset that can make you stand out from the crowd.

But with all this positivity comes challenges. Different generations have varied work styles, expectations, and life goals. And this can cause discontent, resentment, and friction in the workforce. Older generations, which I now find myself part of, have grown up in an environment of hard work, long hours, and living to work. The reality is that younger people are looking for a very different experience from work. Purpose ahead of profit is high on their agenda, coupled with continuous development, and a work-to-live attitude, protecting their mental, physical, and emotional health.

This next statement may be considered controversial. Perhaps the latest generations have got it right, striking a life balance that most only dream of.

Whether you believe this, or not, the fact is that the next generation is either already in the workforce or are your employees of the future. And those businesses that embrace, accept, and empower them will reap the rewards. This was further strengthened when I recently listened to a parent describe interactions and conversations with their daughters, all of whom work in the same successful business. They talked about the acceptance of different working styles, protecting personal time, and supporting mental health. All resulted in increasing the workforce to deliver the same level of trade, describing it as needing 1.5 people to do 1 person’s job. This wasn’t about poor work ethic but recognising that people are no longer happy working long hours without reward.

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Image: Brooke Cagle

To understand the workforce better and bridge the generational gap, many organisations are turning toward reverse mentoring, a growing trend where a junior and, most likely, younger employee mentors a more senior individual. Done correctly it is effective in developing talent while improving cross-generational collaboration, and enhancing performance, regardless of the business. There is a huge benefit for business owners to engage with external mentors of all ages and experiences.

With digital transformation becoming increasingly important in business, changes have never been more frequent. While this technological development is good, not everyone embraces it, with older generations struggling the most. Learning from younger, more knowledgeable colleagues can be advantageous on many levels.

The mentee in reverse mentoring is typically someone who operates at a strategic level within an organisation, with a helicopter view of the business’ direction of travel over the next 5-10 years. With their focus firmly on the medium to long-term, the perspective and knowledge from the frontline younger generation can get lost. These interactions can inform better decision-making across the business, as the mentees may be C-suite directors, senior executives, or owners.

There are many ways reverse mentoring can improve your business operations, interactions, and appeal. Here are five to consider:

Improve innovation through creativity and an open-mind

Working with people from different generations challenges your way of thinking about challenges and problems, opening your mind to new, varied, and innovative solutions. The enhanced creativity and acceptance of different views will empower people to become comfortable sharing their ideas.

Team retention

Staff turnover is a challenge in every industry, with the marketplace becoming more competitive. The pandemic resulted in people taking stock of their priorities in life and reassessing what they looked for in a work environment. The ethics a business displays are becoming a decision in where younger employees choose to work. One reason for negative perceptions is the feeling that their leaders don't consider the priorities of the workforce, and reverse mentoring demonstrates a willingness to listen, particularly about employee wellbeing. This consideration persuades many to remain in their roles to leverage an opportunity to develop their skills.

Empowering emerging leaders

Young people are the leaders of tomorrow, and to reach their full potential adequate training and guidance must be afforded to them. Reverse mentoring is a great way to help develop communication skills and boost the self-confidence needed to transition into leadership roles while experiencing and embracing the qualities of a good leader.

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Image: Elliot Reyna

Supporting diversity, equality, and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion continue to be an issue in many corporate environments, and, quite rightly, companies are called upon to embrace inclusive leadership. Reverse mentorship facilitates all-important opportunities for underrepresented employees to share critical new perspectives with leaders and develop their careers.

Closing the generation gap

Circling back to where we started, reverse mentoring enables younger generations to share their thoughts while learning from more experienced colleagues. Creating an environment of better understanding and collaboration in the process.

My final observation is that all businesses can benefit from thinking differently and it is the younger generations that provide a different, and often, more exciting view of the world.

So what youthful inspiration are you seeking this week?

Have a brilliant week!

David Rogers, Chief Business Narrator, Fuelled Fit and Fired Up Ltd

My first job after university was as a trainee accountant. We had desktop PCs with elementary email and little or no internet. Our accounting journals were input on one stand-alone terminal where you booked time to use it. It feels like the dark ages, and technology-wise it was. Back in 1995, a mobile phone allowed you to call and text. There wasn’t even the game ‘Snake’ to while away the hours. Now, we track our health, keep in touch, and run our finances through a handheld device. Times have changed.

I mention this as a reflection on recent conversations about using the correct business language when speaking to different audiences. Over time technology has advanced but have our communication channels? And do the words, tone, and delivery reflect the changing generations, expanding marketplaces, and working patterns? The answers can be crucial to sharing and writing our future business success stories.

Reflecting the changing needs of the generations and the current world we live in, every language develops over time, with new words, phrases, and senses added to our vocabulary daily. Side hustles and influencers are here to stay, and getting jabbed is more than being punched in the face.

There has been plenty of books, articles, and presentations about how effective communication is crucial to long-term success. However, finding the correct approach while striking a balance with technological solutions is becoming increasingly challenging. However, successful brands and businesses navigate this minefield and recognise, in certain instances, the need to change their tone of voice.

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Image: Igor Rodrigues

Take SAGA plc, a British firm that, as their website states, offers a range of products and services exclusively for the over 50s, including insurance, holidays, money, and a best-selling monthly magazine. They also happen to have been delivering this offer since 1951. In the intervening 70 years, not only have they had to grow with technology, but the expectations of their core customers have increased significantly.

And in that time, the average life expectancy of UK adults has increased by around ten years, lifestyles have changed dramatically, and now life begins at 50. Rather than signifying a slowdown toward retirement. The SAGA leadership team recognised these key indicators and re-invented the brand, creating a more upbeat, vibrant, and engaging communication plan. Even I am looking forward to receiving their brochure next year!

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Image: Vance Osterhout

But it's not just the customers that you need to consider. Businesses may well have a three-generational age range for their people, with 16-year-old apprentices working in the same environment as employees as old as their grandparents. It truly is a different world, with changing priorities for all concerned. While formal, direct, and unnatural language has become friendly, personable, and warm dialogue, finding the right words delivered through the best medium can be difficult.

You must know your audience, and most businesses only communicate with two groups, their teams and their customers. Each group will digest communications using different mediums across multiple platforms, so the right combinations are crucial to telling your story.

For example, knowing where your target customer or client is consuming social media can help you hone your marketing communications. Thus, avoiding a scattergun approach which wastes time and resources in the process. Or creating a one-stop shop using multi-media solutions can increase team engagement in internal communications. It's crucial to remove the jargon. Every business area has acronyms, technical terms, or buzzwords that only those in their specific sphere understand. The risk of the message becoming unclear increases if the language can't resonate with the recipient. Cutting through the tsunami of information received daily is problematic. So finally, keep it short, sweet, and interesting, finishing with a clear call to action to get the impact you deserve. 

Are you speaking the correct language for your business to flourish?

Or is it just Blah, Blah, Blah?

Have a brilliant week!

David Rogers, Chief Business Narrator, Fuelled Fit and Fired Up Ltd

I often find a quote can elicit interesting, inspiring, and insightful conversations with any business leader or owner I meet.

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it” is attributed to Austrian-American consultant Peter Drucker and British Mathematician Lord Kelvin, with growthink.com hailing it as one of the two most important business quotes. The more you reflect on the words, the principal is key to generating future success for any business.

However, only if you are measuring the right things.

Invest your time in determining what, when, and how you monitor all aspects of your business, which is crucial to creating value and delivering results at pace. Here are three areas to consider when developing plans, agreeing on actions, and assigning responsibilities. 

LEAD vs LAG

Two types of measures will determine your future success in reaching your goals and delivering your vision: Lead and Lag.

One of the best ways to differentiate between the two is to think about sitting in the driver’s seat of your car. As you look through the windscreen, everything you see is ahead of you, consider it your lead metrics. Conversely, what you see from the rear-view mirror has been and gone. It’s history that you cannot influence or change. When it comes to measuring performance, these are your lag metrics.

In practical terms, you may choose to monitor employee engagement and customer satisfaction as two lead indicators of future success. After all, happy teams provide customers with better service, who are likely to buy more regularly, boosting lag measures, such as sales and profit.

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Credit: Lukas Blaze

KPI vs OKR

Big business loves a three-letter acronym, but in this case, understanding the difference between your OKRs and your KPIs can be crucial in deciding the correct measures to monitor.

So, what’s the difference?

OKR = Objectives and Key Results

Consider this a framework that uses qualitative statements about what you want to achieve (objective) and matches them with a quantitative output to measure success (key result). They are future-focused, directional, and bold in nature, moving the dial on crucial activities over a short timeframe. Perhaps changing on a quarterly basis to ensure the business is influencing the right things, at the right time, in the right way.

KPI = Key Performance Indicator

These tend to be more quantitative and easily measured, providing a steady-state method of monitoring the underlying health of the business. Used over longer periods, KPIs often don’t change for years and inform decision-making based on trends.

Successful businesses use a combination of OKRs and KPIs, helping monitor performance and identify areas for improvement (KPIs) and solving problems, improving processes, and driving innovation (OKRs).

BALANCED SCORECARD

Introduced in the early 1990s by Kaplan and Norton, the balanced scorecard has stood the test of time, having been adopted by many successful businesses. Covering four crucial parts of any organisation, Financial, Customer, Internal Processes, and Learning and Growth, it allows accurate, balanced, and consistent measurement of performance and goals, providing a clear and concise way to communicate results to the team.  

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Credit: Art Lasovsky

How can you strike the balance in your business and begin writing your future success stories?

Have a brilliant week!

David Rogers, Chief Business Narrator, Fuelled Fit and Fired Up Ltd

During childhood, the Power of Three captured your imagination without you even realising it. This week I share how influential it has been and how inspiring it can be in the future.

The number three was important, inspiring, and influential in many parts of early years’ development. Parents would sing Three Blind Mice to keep us entertained and read fantastic fairy tales at bedtime, including Goldilocks and the Three Bears and the Three Little Pigs. In both stories, there were three options for the main character to choose from. Renowned cartoon maker Walt Disney presented three good fairies in Sleeping Beauty and Donald Duck’s nephews: Huey, Louie, and Dewey. The number three was everywhere.

This pattern carried on into education, with three primary colours in Art and the three fundamental sciences being Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. Mathematics taught you about triangles and Pythagoras’ Theorem, and the history books quote Veni, Vidi, Vici – We Came, We Saw, We Conquered.

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Image: Sandro Katalina

As people move into adulthood, when anything untoward happens, everyone reminds you that everything comes in threes. You give blood, sweat, and tears to get that project over the line, and when choosing a new home, it is all about location, location, location.

It doesn’t stop there, as advertisers and slogan writers love the Power of Three. The Green Cross Code Man taught you to Stop, Look, and Listen. Nike told you Just Do It, and you cannot beat the Snap, Crackle, and Pop of Rice Krispies.

The Power of Three is everywhere!

But why three?

Why not one or two?

Why is three the magic number? And how can it inspire you again?

Let’s explore why. First up, good old number one.  Signifying the first time, something special, but it is only ever at that specific moment. Your first words, first steps, or first attempt at driving are all fantastic achievements, but you can only have the first time, well, once. All the time, you are ticking tasks off your to-do list of life as you go.

Two is the binary number, signifying a choice between two options. Yes or No. Right or Wrong. Heads or Tails. That’s all just a little bit boring.

But with three, that’s when the magic happens. You can start creating basic patterns that engage your mind and body, enabling you to complete tasks, solve problems and form new habits. Let’s delve into why this is the case.

NEUROSCIENCE AND PSYCHOLOGY

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Image: Hal Gatewood

Your brain loves patterns, using them to solve problems, predict outcomes and learn new skills. You could say it is your very own internal Power of Three. So, it won’t come as a surprise that the brain has three main parts.

Cerebrum (the front)

The most significant part, it’s how you remember, think, and feel.

Cerebellum (the back)

Under the cerebrum, just the back of the skull, this controls balance and coordination.

The Brain Stem (the middle)

Sitting beneath the cerebrum, in front of the cerebellum, this is the mother ship. It regulates the heart rate and, amongst other functions, your breathing, sleeping, and eating. It’s one end of the information superhighway between the body and the brain.

A list of three has distinct characteristics: a start, a middle, and an end, which provides a natural rhythm when reciting it and makes it more likely to be committed to memory. It is no coincidence that some of the best speechwriters use what they call ‘The Rule Of Three’ when creating campaign slogans. Just take these three examples, Britain Deserves Better (UK Labour Party, 1997), Yes We Can (Barack Obama, 2008), or Strong and Stable (UK Conservative Party, 2017).

In a 1967 speech, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr described it as the three dimensions of a complete life: length, breadth, and height.

Length

Searching out your inner power, learning to love yourself properly, and in his words, ‘having the inward concern for one’s welfare.’

Breadth

You turn the view outward, focusing your concern on other people.

Height

This stage is where you seek out hope, meaning, or achievement.

Always return to the Power of Three to help you focus on creating new habits, perhaps using the technique I shared last week. These newly formed patterns can that deliver sustainable change to your life and business.

Creating a new success story in the process.

What’s your power of three?

Have a brilliant week!

David Rogers, Chief Business Narrator, Fuelled Fit and Fired Up Ltd

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