Alignment in Business (In six images).

I’ve just had a few new images created and thought a new blog post would be a good way to show them off.

These images explain alignment in Enterprise LEADER.

They story goes like this…


1. Much is spoken about the need for alignment in business. When your leadership, teams and customers are aligned, then life is good. Your leader is at the top of the pyramid keeping the whole organisation aligned.  Happy days.


2. But in some companies, the leadership is un-aligned with the rest of the team — or the team is out of tune with the leadership. This is not good.


3. In fact, in some companies, the situation is even worse… the leadership, the team and the customers are all out of alignment. This is bad.



4. In Enterprise LEADER, we look at things differently. We believe the whole pyramid should be inverted, with the leadership at the bottom, supporting the teams, who in turn look after customers.



5. Leaders make teams believe. Teams make customers believe… and when customer believe, they BUY, BUY AGAIN and TELL THEIR FRIENDS. This is good.



6. When you get the perfect alignment of belief between leaders, teams and customers, then profit can be maximised.

I hope you like our new graphics.

To learn more about creating alignment in your organisation, please visit Enterprise LEADER.

Can ‘Entrepreneurial Thinking’ Overcome ‘Resistance to Change’?


I had a very interesting conversation this morning with an HR executive about resistance to change.

Change in business is a subject I’m very interested in… especially how to change people’s thinking, mindset and attitude, so they embrace change, rather than resist it.

The indisputable fact is this: If companies do not continually evolve, adapt and respond to customers changing needs, wants and desires — they will cease to be relevant to customers…. and often cease to exist as a company.

Just think Blockbuster Video and Tower Records. They fell at the expense of Netflix and Spotify.

Think Nokia and Blackberry who have fallen at the expense of Google and Apple.

These are big obvious names, – but disruptive change is happening in every industry in companies of all size.

Right now, companies large and small around the world are disappearing or failing because of their inability to change, adapt, evolve, respond or innovate.

More to the point, they are failing because of the resistance to change put up by their employees, managers and leaders.

This cannot be allowed to happen.

Change is not something anybody or any company can hide from. No one is immune to the curse of irrelevance.

But what can you do when your employees are stubborn and put up but barriers — fighting change at every step.

My belief is that employees, managers and leaders need to understand why change is important, and understand their part in making change happen.

Companies need to create a culture were people are open to change.

This does not happen by accident.

Leadership and team development plays a big part in creating a platform where change can happen. Specifically developing leaders and employees who think differently… who understand the business reasons for change… who put the needs of customers ahead of their own… and understand that change principally happens to the company so it can better serve its customers, and stay relevant in its marketplace.

I’m a great believer that entrepreneurs are perfect models of people who embrace change… thrive on change… and deliver results because of change.

It is entrepreneurs who are disrupting industries right now.

Should we therefore look to entrepreneurs as examples of people who are good at change? People who do not resist change?

Should we borrow some of the ideas, inspiration, thinking from entrepreneurs and bring it into our own work environment?

I believe so.


I think all companies can look to entrepreneurs for guidance in how to drive change. If we can instil some new ‘big picture’ thinking into employees, managers and even leaders — helping them understand the importance of change, then change will come easier.

If employees thought like entrepreneurs, would they still resist change?

I don’t think so.

So my thought for the day, is that ‘entrepreneurial thinking’ can overcome ‘resistance to change’.

What do you think?

To instil entrepreneurial thinking into your own employees, managers and employees visit Enterprise LEADER.

Part 1: FIVE Leadership Lessons I’ve Learnt From Playing Football


3 years ago, at the age of 43, I started playing regular football (or soccer if you are reading this in the US).

I play at least once or twice a week, some times more. Conservatively, in the past 3 years, I think I’ve played at least 300 games. Mostly 6-a-side, but the occasional 11-a-side. I’ve played with many different players in different teams on different days/nights.

Essentially, whoever turns up plays, and we simply divide the players into two groups, with one team wearing dark colours, and the other wearing whites.

That’s how we roll here in Bath!

As far as my football history and talent goes, there is very little. I have always kicked a ball around, and played at school until the age of 11. Between 11 and 43, there was very little footballing. A few games here and there, but nothing in the regular way I play now.

I love playing football, and playing regularly has given me a much greater appreciation of the beautiful game.

Here are my first five takeaways from playing football. I’ll post another five at a later date.  Somewhere in here are lessons which relate to Enterprise LEADER. I’ll see where they are at the end!

1 –  Practice makes you better — but some people just have natural talent. 

When I started playing football 3 years ago, I was rubbish. Total rubbish. Not quite two left feet, but poor control, lack of positional awareness, poor passing decisions. Too much wasted effort for little return. Not contributing much to the team.

Three years on and I have certainly improved and have found my groove. I’m still pretty poor at football compared to most of the other guys I play with/against, but it is true that practice makes perfect.

But for all the hard work I put into a game, there will always be players who are just more naturally talented. They make the game look easy. They have so much time on the ball it is untrue. They always (mostly) make the perfect pass or decision – even under pressure. They can dictate they game in a way others cannot.

Why are they so good? Probably because they have been kicking a ball around since the age of 4 and played competitive matches all of their life. Playing in a team with players with natural talent can make you a better player.

Takeaway: It is good to have a naturally talented player in your team as they make you raise your game.

2 – You need a balanced team to win.

I’ve played in teams full of attackers and no defenders. I’ve played in teams where people do not pass, or only pass to certain players. I’ve played in teams where the average age is over 40 and we have played against a team of 20 somethings.

To win matches, you need a balanced team, with the right players in the right places. You cannot ‘consistently’ win a game with a team full of attackers and no defenders. You cannot ‘consistently’ win games where people do not pass or play as a united team. You cannot ‘consistently win games’ with a team of over 40 (some 50’s) playing against a team of 20 somethings. You need a balanced team — in all regards.

Takeaway: You need the right people in the right places to win a match.

3 – Hard/smart work can trump natural talent (sometimes).

Occasionally, I play in a team of superstars, or against a team of superstars. Either way, the superstars should win… but they don’t always. Usually it’s because the opposition works hard, plays good simple passing football, hustles, runs into space, marks the opposition out of the game, never gives up. They get the fundamentals right.

This is not always the case, as a balanced team of superstars will usually cruise every match, but hard/smart work can also win.

Takeaway: The only substitute for hard/smart work is natural talent.

4. You must play to your strengths.

I’m a great believer that for a team to win, you need players who are playing to their strengths. For example. One player I play with is a fantastic natural defender. He can read the game superbly well, time his tackles, close players down, snuff out the opposition. He is also great at taking the ball from the keeper and starting an attack from the back. But play him upfront, he can be all over the place and his talent is wasted.

I am at my most comfortable playing further up the pitch. I like defending from the front, playing telling balls through to somebody running on, and scoring the odd poachers goal myself. I think that is where I make the most contribution to the team (it also doesn’t matter as much if I loose the ball up front, rather than loosing it in my own third of the pitch).

Time and time again I’ve seen players play their best matches in their preferred position. They enjoy it more when they play to their strengths and make a more telling contribution. Sometimes clearly you need to play players out of position to balance the team, but on the whole, the best results come when players play to their own strengths.

Takeaway: best results come from players playing to their strengths.

5 – You need on-field leaders.

I cannot understate the importance of an on-field leader to raise the performance of a team. A good captain can drive people forward often to victory.  A good captain inspires through their action and words. They encourage players to work hard, advise players to take a certain position, close a man down, make a certain run.

Done well, a good on-field leader can be the equivalent of an extra man. Done poorly, the same person can be a de-motivator, nuisance and annoyance.

I find that the best on-pitch leaders are the better players. Other players tend to respect the ‘better players’ as they know what they are doing, and speak from experience and with good insight.

Nothing however annoys me more than people moaning on the pitch without offering some constructive advice. Offer advice, ideas, suggestions and I will listen. Speak to me directly and I will listen and heed your advice. A general ‘come on whites’ — although well meaning, isn’t specific enough. I guess we are all different and respond in different ways. Some people don’t want ‘constructive input’, others (like me) do.

A good leader understands the players in their team and does whatever is needed to get the best from each player.

That said, there are very few good leaders in the games I have played in. You soon know when you are playing in (or against) a team with one because of the difference they make.

Takeaway: You need a leader in your team who can inspire others to raise their game. A good leader can be the difference between winning and loosing.

So, there are the first five of my take-aways from playing football during the past 3 years. I’ll write another five next week.

In many ways, football teams are similar to business teams. You need balance, you need a leader, you need talent, you need to play to your strengths, you need to work hard and smart.

With Enterprise LEADER, we help develop leaders and teams, so that they can win in business.

Can You Teach Somebody to Become a Leader in Business?


Can you teach somebody to become a leader in business? Even a great leader in business?

This is an interesting question for me, especially as I sell a business leadership development program called Enterprise LEADER.

I think the answer is yes… and no.

Yes, because you can show people what great leadership looks like. You can unpick what is going on in the mind of a great leader and explain that to others. You can help instill new attitudes, beliefs, language and thinking into an individual.

No, because becoming a leader is not about reading a book, or going through a program…. it’s something which comes from within.

I also believe that leaders can be great on one arena, but weak in another.

stuart-pierceFor example, the captain of a football team could be a great leader on the pitch, but not so good at work — possibly even a demotivator.

So much of leadership comes from the purpose, vision and goals you are working towards, and how much you believe in them — and are passionate about them.

A football captain could have total belief and passion about winning football matches, and can inspire his/her team to achieve extraordinary results, but at work they could be ambivalent and inspire nobody.

Great leaders in business (especially entrepreneurs) are driven by something great… usually their idea, goals, vision. A big picture. True North.

Because they are so passionate about ‘their thing’, and believe in it, will do whatever it takes to achieve results, they inspire those around them to achieve more too.

I’ve seen this model of leadership many times with entrepreneurs, and it works.

So can you teach somebody to become a great leader? yes and no.

Yes, you can show them the path… show them what great leadership looks like… make it personal to them… help unlock something special in them.

No, if they are not passionate and do not believe, they will never inspire others to achieve more.

Enterprise LEADER is a set of leadership and team development tools which managers and executives use internally to help develop their own teams. Enterprise LEADER was built from modelling successful entrepreneurs, and introduces the philosophy of I BELIEVE (The Leader), WE BELIEVE (The Team) and THEY BELIEVE (The Customer). This proven model helps create alignment between employees and customers, resulting in a superior and more relevant experience for customers.

The Mindset of an ‘Entrepreneurial’ Employee, Manager and Leader

Over the years, I’ve met and interviewed a lot of successful entrepreneurs.

Many are self-made millionaires, multi-millionaires and even billionaires. People who have started a business from scratch… from a single idea… and grown it into a company which employs tens, hundreds or even thousands of people.

I like the way entrepreneurs think. They think differently.

I’ve always thought that if you could bring a little bit of ‘entrepreneurial’ thinking to employees, managers and leaders in regular businesses, you could build a better business and give customers a better experience.

So with that in mind, based on my interviews with successful entrepreneurs, I developed a program called Enterprise LEADER.

Enterprise LEADER does not create entrepreneurs, but it does instill ‘entrepreneurial or enterprising thinking‘ into regular employes.

I call these types of people ‘enterprise leaders‘.

Perhaps the best way to explain what the mindset of an ‘enterprise leader‘ is, is through the following three graphics.

1: Put the customer at the centre of your business.

customerYour business is all about your customer, all too often however this fact can be forgotten and other priorities take over. This is when customers feel unwanted, poorly treated and choose to switch to another supplier/vendor. This happens every day around the world.

Entrepreneurs (and enterprise leaders) know that business is all about the customer. One of my favourite quotes on this is by Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart.

“A customer is the most important person in any business.
A customer is not dependent upon us. We are dependent upon him.
A customer is not an interruption of our work. He is the sole purpose of it.
A customer does us a favour when he comes in. We aren’t doing him a favour by waiting on him.
A customer is an essential part of our business–not an outsider.
A customer is not just money in the cash register. He is a human being with feelings and deserves to be treated with respect.
A customer is a person who comes to us with his needs and his wants. It is our job to fill them.
A customer deserves the most courteous attention we can give him. He is the lifeblood of this and every business.
He pays your salary. Without him we would have to close our doors. Don’t ever forget it.”

More succinctly, Sam went on to say…

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

Enterprise leaders ensure customers are firmly placed at the center of the business. Whether an employee is customer facing or not, they know that it is the customer who pays their salary and every action and decision they make, should be for the benefit of the customer.

2: Practice the principles of ‘I BELIEVE’.

IBELIEVEThe program Enterprise LEADER was first created by interviewing successful entrepreneurs and business leaders.

I wanted to know exactly how entrepreneurs think, act and make decisions. In fact, the first incarnation of Enterprise LEADER was Millionaire MBA.

Millionaire MBA really peeled back the layers to the mindset of successful entrepreneurs, but it was never the right program for employees, managers or leaders. It was a program purely for existing or aspiring entrepreneurs.

However there was so much goodness in Millionaire MBA that I recreated it again, but this time for the business/corporate world — and Enterprise LEADER was born.

In Enterprise LEADER, I introduced the concept of I BELIEVE. This nemonic simplifies the mindset of an entrepreneur, and therefore the mindset of an ‘enterprise leader’.

I   I Believe in Myself
B  Be Passionate and Want It
E  Extend Your Comfort Zone
L  Lies and Luck Don’t Work
I   Install Goals
E  Enjoy Hard Work
V  Very, Very Persistent
Expect Failure


I WE THEY BELIEVEThrough interviewing successful entrepreneurs, I soon found that in addition to displaying the principles of I BELIEVE, entrepreneurs are also able to make the team around them believe.

In Enterprise LEADER we call this ‘WE BELIEVE‘.

This is what successful entrepreneurs do. They build an organisation where the team believes and in turn are able to make customers believe — we call this ‘THEY BELIEVE‘.

When customers believe, three things happen:

  1. They Buy
  2. They Buy Again
  3. They Tell Their Friends and Recommend You.

This is a proven cycle of growth for companies.

But customers will only recommend you if they believe in you, and if the products, services and experience they receive is excellent.

This is why everybody in your company (customer facing or not) needs to work hard to stay relevant to customers, and give then an extraordinary experience.

For that, you need people who BELIEVE.

To request a free trial of Enterprise LEADER simply click here.

Is Google the Most Entrepreneurial ‘Large’ Company in the World?

Question: Is Google the Most Entrepreneurial ‘Large’ Company in the World?

Answer: I have no idea…

…but they sure are innovative for a big company.

Google is no longer a small entrepreneurial start-up… it hasn’t been for years. They now employ 50,000+ people, but the rate of innovation and creativity which comes out of Google is akin to that of a small startup.

Just yesterday, Google announced it’s latest release of Android, two new Nexus phones, two new Chromecasts and a new tablet called Pixel C.

You have to take your hat off to Google for their constant and never ending innovation, and how they keep pushing to provide a simpler and richer experience for customers. Apple do the same too, but yesterday it was Google in the spotlight.

I’m not sure how Google do it, but having pots of cash from Adwords has to help.

They can afford to recruit the most talented employees. They have two very influential founders whose vision, passion and belief still steers the company and I’m sure is felt by virtually every employee.

More importantly, I suspect Google sees itself as an entrepreneurial company, rather than a larger corporate (or at it least tries to see itself that way).

I personally have no idea what it is like to work at Google, but reviews on Glassdoor,com gives it 4.5 stars out of five. That said, dig a bit deeper and there are plenty of comments about bureaucracy, politics, middle management bottlenecks. The usual stuff for a larger company.

I bet Google is having to work even harder than ever to keep their entrepreneurial spirit alive and fight against the usual rubbish which comes with large companies.

Is Google the most entrepreneurial ‘large’ company in the world? Maybe, but so were Blackberry and Nokia back in the day!

Discover how you can keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive in your company, department or team with Enterprise LEADER.

Change is afoot at Downton Abbey


The end is near for Downton Abbey.

I’m quite pleased about that as my interest is thinning, although I have thoroughly enjoyed the drama over the years.

I recall ‘binge watching’ series 1 with my wife in just one day. ‘One more’ we kept saying until all seven episodes were completed.

Last Sunday, we went to a ‘Downton Abbey’ like stately home called Stourhead. This house has one of the most beautiful gardens in England.

Whilst there, I thought how little the gardens have changed in the past 100 years, but also how much the world has changed in that timeframe.

The first series of Downton was set in 1912, and the current series set in 1925. The Earl of Grantham is constantly talking about the changing times, and the Downton household is clearly having to change with the times.

Roll forward 90 years (just one lifetime), and I doubt anybody could have foreseen the changes that were to come. Technology, globalisation, social change, political change, medical innovations, space travel. You name it. Change is everywhere.

I wonder what the world will look like in another 90 years.

What are you doing today to embrace change, adapt and respond to your customers changing needs and stay relevant?

Bill Clinton said it best with this quote: “The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.”

Discover how you can stay relevant for your customers with Enterprise LEADER

I Wish I Was Crazy

It is funny how Google works.

You have a random thought… ‘Google it’ and before you know it, your random thought has taken you off in a totally different direction.

I did this the other evening, and I ended up ‘wishing I was crazy’.

Here’s where it started…

Somebody recently said that I needed more images on my website. As ‘think different’ was part of my message, this seemed a good place to start.

But as Google often does, it takes you to an unexpected place… and within a couple of clicks, I found myself wishing I was crazy… or at least a crazy one.

‘Think Different’ is clearly a message from Apple and Steve Jobs and it wasn’t long before I stumbled across the now famous ‘crazy one’ quote.

This really is worth reviewing again if you have not seen, read or heard it recently.

“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

I think this is what it takes to do something remarkable… to drive change… to ‘put a dent in the world‘ as Steve Jobs spoke about.

I certainly wish I was one of the crazy ones… but I haven’t yet managed to put a dent in the world.

I have however been trying to change the way people think in companies, so they think more ‘entrepreneurially’… more like Steve Jobs.

In my opinion, you need to think differently if you are going to stay relevant to customers.

I also believe that all too often companies don’t want alternative thinkers. They want to put people in boxes, label them and get them to follow processes.

Sometimes this is needed to get things done…

….but to drive change, come up with new ideas, stay relevant to customers, a different approach is needed.

That approach is entrepreneurial thinking.

Enterprise LEADER

What Can CEOs and HR Learn from Formula 1?

It’s the Japanese F1 Grand Prix this weekend. I’d love to be there, rather than watching it on TV!

I’ve been a fan of F1 since 1994. I remember watching my first race with the commentator talking about tenths and hundredths of seconds. The margins in F1 are so slim, but over a 70 lap race, if you find an extra half a second a lap over your nearest competitor, you will finish half a minute ahead of them.

Often races are won by even slimmer margins such as one or two seconds and saving a tenth of a second a lap (or even a hundredth) can be the difference between winning and loosing.

I find it amazing that different constructors working off the same technical guidelines can produce cars which finish within such close times.

In fact, I recall the 1997 European Grand Prix where three different cars all qualified with the exact same times of 1.21.072.


F1 is so competitive it is untrue.

I cannot think of a sport which has more people contributing to the team than F1. Of course, a team only has 2 race drivers, but it can have hundreds, and in some cases 1,000+ employees behind the scenes all contributing, helping make the car ultra competitive, giving the driver an extra tenth per lap.

Since I started following F1 in 1994, the rule changes and technical innovations introduced to the sport have been considerable. Teams have to embrace change or wither and eventually die.

It is unthinkable that a car from 1994 could beat a car from 2014. By way of illustration, the qualifying time in 1994 was 1:37.209 (Schumacher)  with a 3.5L engine and in 2014 it was 1:32.506 (Rosberg) with a 1.6L engine. Interestingly enough, it was the Germans who got the pole positions on those days, but two Brits (Damon Hill and Lewis Hamilton) who won the respective races.

In many ways, F1 is no different to any other business. Like F1, your business must embrace change… stay relevant and competitive.. or it will fade away and eventually die.

It is unthinkable that a F1 team would try and field a car from yesterday, to race against the latest car of today. More so, teams implement new innovations for each race, always looking for micro improvements which will give them the edge.

I think regular businesses (including CEOs and HR) can learn a lot from F1.

Perhaps the most important takeaway from F1 is that you can never stand still… you must fight every day to remain relevant…. and that fight comes from each and every employee, manager and leader in your organisation.

Enterprise LEADER

Leading by Alex Ferguson (with Michael Moritz)


I’ve just finished listening to the audio version Sir Alex Ferguson’s new book — Leading.

Sir Alex is arguably the greatest football manager to ever live, and in his new book he distils his thoughts on leadership. The book came on the back of his post retirement Harvard Business School lectures (photo above).

I’m a great fan of Sir Alex and Manchester Utd, so it was a pleasure to listen to this book.

There is so much to take away from it, it is hard to know where to start.

For me, the most consistent theme in the book was Sir Alex’s approach to people. Nothing surprising here, as this is a book about leadership after all.

Sir Alex does not give a magic formula for leadership, however through his numerous stories and anecdotes, you start to understand how hard he worked to understand his players and coaching staff at a personal level, and how hard he worked to create an environment where each person could thrive and perform at their highest (and I mean very highest) level.

Sir Alex is clearly a strong people person with a genuine interest in the people he leads, and those who work for him.

One of his strengths as a leader is to recognise that everybody is different, and the more he knew about his team members and the more he understood them, the more he could get out of them in terms of performance.

A football team’s main product is its people and Sir Alex’s genius was finding, recruiting, developing, retaining great players — and getting them to gel and perform as a balanced team. Add to that knowing when it was time to move a player on or replace him with a new player.

In the book he does not talk overtly about tactics, more so about getting the right people in the right places and unlocking their natural talents.

Sir Alex is not a CEO in the traditional sense. Neither is he a sales person or marketer.

But he is a great communicator. He inspires people to achieve more.

He knows exactly what he stands for and believes in, and that internal belief and confidence flows through to the players he leads.

Sir Alex’s leadership style starts internally with him. It is his core beliefs, principles, ethics, values, It is his attitude and mindset.

These core values were instilled in him in his childhood and formative years as a footballer and manager.

With Sir Alex’s self-belief, he is able to make his players and team believe.

When the team believes, they are able to make the fans believe.

From there, success is never far away.

But the success of Man U over the past 20+ years starts with Sir Alex and his internal belief and confidence and his ability to develop others so they share his attitudes, beliefs and winning mindset.

Successful entrepreneurs and business leaders share the same belief model too.

They have phenomenal levels of self belief and are able to make employees believe, who in turn can build products/services which customers believe in.

In Enterprise LEADER, we call this ‘I BELIEVE’ the leader, WE BELIEVE the team and THEY BELIEVE the customer.

If you’d like to know more about creating a company full of employees who believe, just click through to Enterprise LEADER.