Dr David Cliff writes for Entrepreneur and Investor about survival and prosperity thinking.
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Award-winning business coach and mentor, Dr David Cliff, is launching a new booklet to help entrepreneurs avoid common pitfalls when scaling up their companies.
Dr Cliff, who is the Managing Director of Sunderland-based Gedanken and winner of the 2017 Mentor of the Year award from the Entrepreneur’s Forum, has helped firms and individuals across the region to grow their businesses and improve their working practices. As an expert coach and mentor with more than 35 years of management and personal development experience, he frequently contributes to newspapers and business publications.
The booklet covers the ten most common mistakes made by owner-managed businesses when scaling up and how to avoid them.
Dr Cliff previewed the booklet at a LinkedIn Live event at the Newcastle offices of Unwritten Creative, where he talked through the tips shared in the booklet, and answered questions from the audience of business owners.
Dr David Cliff said: “Throughout my career, I have seen a number of common mistakes that entrepreneurs make when scaling up, and I wanted to share my knowledge and advice on a wide scale. I hope that this booklet will be a good jumping off point for those who are about to embark on the journey of growing their business.
“Attending a coaching or mentoring session can be an intimidating process for the uninitiated, so I see the booklet as bridging the gap, and showing the value of getting support from an outside party. I’m delighted to be able to share my experience with the hardworking entrepreneurs in the region.”
Jess Swindells, Managing Director of Tier One Capital, who is sponsoring the event, said: “Establishing and growing an SME can be challenging, but, equally it is tremendously rewarding. Seeking the right advice and guidance is often a key to success and the insight Dr David Cliff is providing in his new booklet is excellent. Having worked with a large number of SMEs, we know the pitfalls they can face are numerous, but with experienced advisors it is more than possible to navigate a route to business growth.”
Dr David Cliff’s booklet is available by contacting Gedanken email@example.com.
Dr David Cliff recently wrote an article for the publication Entrepreneur and Investor about success and sabotage within the business community.
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We need to think very carefully about how we co-exist, particularly in these post-Windrush days. Windrush reminded us that simple posturing is not acceptable, and the new Home Secretary will hopefully continue with his much-needed ‘can-do’ attitude.
The sorry saga has mired us in a battle for minds about what exactly constitutes our national identity. Issues that affect our national identity loom large – immigration, Brexit, Royal weddings, our constitution. At the core is how we relate to one another. In the North East, we are recognised as being friendly and approachable; and I agree that compared to the standoffishness we experience among London commuters, for instance, we are a lot more welcoming. As a proud Northerner with more than an insight into the inner workings of the mind, I feel doubly qualified to comment on our collective sense of national unity. Our communal approachability, if you will.
Evolutionary psychology suggests that people prefer people that are like them. It lays down the basis for collaboration, as shared characteristics somehow give a sense of security. People with things in common are more likely to work together and therefore enhance the survival prospects of the community. But we don’t live in caves any more, and we are not pursued by predators.
Our arguably innate xenophobia has to give way to some transcendent qualities where we identify other people as part of a whole community with all the rights, responsibilities and respect due to them.
As a citizen in a country that has seen a massive growth in population over the last 20 or 30 years, I have concerns about overall population size and sustainability for the planet. Equally, it seems utterly implausible that we fail to train our young people sufficiently so that their expertise is lost to the health service and other organisations whilst asset stripping the rest of the world of skilled people. That not only doesn’t make sense, it’s on the edge of social protectionism at the cost of poorer countries. Most concerning however is the Windrush debacle.
As a white, male, middle-class citizen whose genetic inheritance is mainly Scot with some English, Irish and Scandinavian thrown in, I am acutely embarrassed that our fellow country folk have had to endure this. Indeed that embarrassment extends to shame when I hear stories of people denied healthcare, losing jobs, being taken to detention centres. I can only imagine the despair of trying to produce an audit trail of documentation to validate one’s right to be where one was once invited with open arms.
But then I’m equally ashamed that we have an innately racist society anyway. Whether we like it or not, it is more than the stereotypical white van man that has reservations about race. The nature of that racism has complicated itself as successive policies under, for example Labour, looked to accommodate different communities rather than integrate them. As a result, we have racial groups in this country who can view many other groups as not included in their concept of citizenry. We only have to look at the internal wranglings of the Labour Party with anti-Semitism to see that.
We need to have an open, courageous debate about what citizenship truly is. Equally though, we need to discuss the nature of compassion in government, including the civil service.
I truly do not think I have ever been as uncomfortable as a citizen as I am now. I believe Mr Javid has a substantial task ahead to restore faith for not only the Windrush generation, but everyone who has viewed this fiasco. It will be interesting to see his ministerial stances in the months ahead.
Dr David Cliff recently wrote an article for the publication Entrepreneur and Investor about customer experience.
Read the full article here: http://entrepreneurandinvestor.com/are-you-taking-your-valuable-customers-for-granted/
Dr David Cliff recently wrote an article for the publication Entrepreneur and Investor about improving productivity.
You can read the full article here: http://entrepreneurandinvestor.com/how-to-really-improve-productivity/
Watch David talking about productivity in the video below.
Respected executive business coach and mentor, Dr David Cliff, is celebrating after three of his clients received top business accolades, following his work with them.
John Savage, Managing Director of Flame Heating Spares, was named BQ’s Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year, Legacare was awarded Social Cause of the Year by the Solicitors Journal, and HWM took home The Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
Dr Cliff, who is the Managing Director of Houghton-le-Spring based Gedanken, has worked with a number of businesses across the UK to help leaders improve both their own performance and that of their team. He was recently named Mentor of the Year at the Entrepreneur’s Forum awards.
David Cliff said: “I am incredibly proud to have worked with these three great organisations who, this year, have been recognised by awarding bodies for their excellent business practice. I would like to think that their work with Gedanken has contributed to the quality of service they deliver, and has helped them to stand out amongst their competitors.
“More entrepreneurs and businesses leaders are recognising the value that coaching and mentoring brings to companies, regardless of size or structure. All organisations can benefit from understanding the needs of their workforce and support them to perform well both for the progression of the company and the wellbeing of the team.”
John Savage said: “Working with David and Gedanken has been an excellent experience for me. It’s allowed me to focus on the company and my own development, which has certainly helped us to succeed. I would recommend coaching to any business, as it helps you to consider new ways of working and leads you to business ideas that you might not come to without talking them through.”
Research by the Institute of Directors (IoD) has revealed that only 14 percent of organisations have a formal mental health strategy in place. The impact of this meant businesses suffered with poorer quality in work and decision making and a higher level of staff turnover.
The results, published in February, found that despite more than half of IoD members receiving complaints from staff about mental health issues, fewer than one in seven had formalised a mental health policy in the office. This survey follows a Labour Force survey which found that 11.7 million working days were lost due to work-related mental health conditions in 2015/16.
The data suggests that more businesses need to shift focus towards strategies such as coaching and mentoring, in order to support staff at all levels when they face challenges including stress, depression, and anxiety. Both results also indicate that when a company fails to focus on the mental wellbeing of its staff, the implications can have a long term financial impact for the business, due to sick leave and a requirement to train new people if the business is unable to retain staff.
David Cliff, one of the North East’s leading business coaches, suggests that by introducing external coaching and mentoring alongside traditional pastoral support, small businesses may be able to offer the support that staff at all levels need to stimulate a positive working environment. This additional support for both management and staff could support the mental health needs at all levels of the organisation.
David Cliff, Managing Direction of Gedanken said: “Mental health deserves to be a higher profile issue. It is time for businesses to turn the spotlight on how they look after their employees with a holistic care strategy.Those that do have had an opportunity to debate and evaluate the value of positive mental health to staff recruitment and retention, and how they perform their job roles.
“Coaching and mentoring are valuable additions to an office’s psychological first aid kit. They are very different skills, but each can have a huge impact on the individual’s performance. Coaching offers a safe space for an exploration of what is inhibiting performance and preventing people functioning at their optimum level, whereas mentoring is more about someone transmitting skills and insights from direct experience. Both are also different to, and not necessarily as time-consuming as, counselling or other related staff support.
“Increasingly, research is suggesting that coaching has its place alongside psychotherapy in promoting the mental well-being of individuals however there will always be an academic debate on this. Coaching can enhance performance, and improves personal growth and development, both of which are conducive to an effective organisation with great leaders at the helm. It’s surprising, therefore, that in times of financial hardship, such support is seen as a luxury rather than a necessity and is often the first to be cut from budgets.
David added: “A good leader is continually on the lookout for signs that their staff might be struggling, however one must remember that a management role is also one of high pressure and intensity, and that a leader’s mental health needs to be taken into account as well. This highlights the importance of coaching and mentoring at all levels within businesses, to ensure that support is available.
“Over 80% of the FTSE top 100 companies employ a coaching culture as they can see the benefits to be self-evident. The same considerations should also be given to smaller businesses to support leaders and staff. When 54 percent of IoD members have identified issues in their workplace, it is clear that more must be done to support both leaders and staff alike.”
Gedanken, one of the North East’s leading business growth and coaching organisations, has provided support to help Legacare, a regional legal charity, to achieve its ambition of providing services throughout the UK.
Cramlington-based Legacare, which was founded by solicitor Meg Kirby, offers legal advice for people who are diagnosed with dementia, cancer and other life threatening illnesses, and who cannot afford to employ lawyers to put their affairs in order.
Mentoring support provided at no cost by David Cliff, Managing Director of Gedanken Limited, which is based in Houghton-le-Spring, is helping Legacare to create a strategy for growth. This strategy will hopefully see the charity offer services nationally within the next five years.
Legacare does not seek to compete with high street solicitors, and specialist probate and will agencies. Most of the individuals it supports are not in a position to afford the fees of any such organisations. While contributions are always welcome towards the services it provides, these services are entirely free for those who are not in a position to pay.
Meg Kirby said: “We hope to gain sufficient backing to be able to roll out Legacare’s services nationwide over the next five years. Support for this has come from a number of sources, including David at Gedanken, who has given us much needed advice and mentoring.”
David Cliff said: “I’m delighted to have supported Legacare. Being able to take back control of your life and get help and continued support to take charge of your affairs at a time in your life when you are being rocked by catastrophic news is absolutely critical. Quite apart from that, it’s what we all deserve from a society that cares.
“As a business, Gedanken has a strong record of providing support to the charity sector, so when I heard about the work Legacare is doing in the North East and that they want to do it on a national scale, I had to help them.”
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