The Bright Seven Sector Model: Leadership
Posted on 15th October 2021 at 09:37
Over the past 15 years, I’ve worked with countless contracting businesses, helping them to improve their operations and expand into successful, sustainable companies. Over those years, I’ve put all of my research, insights, and experience into an easy-to-understand model that any business can follow to grow their business.
Broken down into seven crucial sectors, each stage of the model is critical to the success of a business:
Without a solid strategy for each sector, you’ll find consistent problems within your business that slow down success and stop your business from reaching its full potential.
Sector 1: Leadership
In part one of our seven-chapter guide, we’ll cover the first sector of the model - leadership.
Leadership is the keystone of your business. It’s the central structure of your business on which everything else sits. Without solid leadership, the rest of the business crumbles.
When we talk about leadership, we use our five-level segmentation model: UNITE
Each letter represents a different stage of the leadership process, growing in sophistication as you grow as a leader. Let’s take a closer look at each level so you can begin to see the journey you’ll take as a leader in your business.
The unification of tasks and time is the most basic level of good leadership. Most leaders within a business have two separate tools: a diary and a task list.
But what many don’t realise is that to work effectively, tasks should consistently be blocked off in your diary. This simple yet highly effective time management strategy allows you to dedicate time to team meetings, finance reviews, marketing sessions, and other key tasks that often get put off.
Think of it as a piece of music. Unifying your tasks and calendar gives your business a regular beat to move to. Once you have these recurring meetings and tasks in your calendar, you can put in the reactive stuff around it, but that consistent beat is always there, giving more structure and unity to your schedule.
If you’re looking at your task list and it’s so long and overwhelming you don’t know how to fit it all into your schedule, think of tasks as big rocks, small rocks, and grains of sand.
When you’re filling your jar, you add the big rocks first, then the smaller rocks fit around those, and finally, the sand fills the gaps.
Prioritise your tasks with the most important tasks (big rocks) first. Add these to your calendar as a matter of urgency - don’t be afraid to move other things around.
Next, add tasks that are less important but still need attention (small rocks). Finally, add the tasks that aren’t urgent wherever you have space (sand).
The easiest way to unify your calendar and keep on track is with a digital organiser. Paper-based calendars are only so effective. When you get instant reminders, you can easily change your meetings, and populate your schedule with a click of a button, so it becomes much easier to keep on top of.
The N in UNITE stands for Next - what do you want to do next? What is your vision for your business? What direction do you want it to take?
As a leader, you need to be clear on your vision and know where you want to take your business next so you can make decisions based on those goals.
If you don’t already have a clear vision for your business and you’re bogged down in putting out fires day-to-day, I’d suggest starting with a vision board.
I regularly create these with my clients to help them gain clarity on the direction of their businesses.
Just like an athlete in training, it’s crucial to know what you want to achieve, how you’re going to get there, and to visualise that next level of success.
To do this well, we need to reprogramme your RAS (the reticular activating system of the brain). This part of the brain is the filter that allows you to focus on what you need to. We get bombarded with information all day every day, so it’s important to take the time to focus on your goals so your RAS knows what you need to focus on to get there.
It’s like when you buy a new car and all of sudden you start noticing them wherever you go. That’s because your RAS has filtered this as important new information, and now it’s sticking out in your mind.
By creating a vision board and focusing on your goals for your business, you’re training your brain to see this as important information and you’ll start to see a shift in your behaviour as you work towards them.
When you begin putting your vision board together, start by writing a short story of what your future looks like. Add as much detail as you possibly can to engage all your senses and bring it to life.
The start of mine goes like this: I pulled up to my electric gate, the gravel crunched under the wheels of my new executive motorcar. I approached my house and I thought, wow, how far I've come in the last five years.
I wrote that ten years ago sat in my two-bed terrace in Milton Keynes and it changed my entire life. Having that vision of my future to focus on gave me direction and determination to make it a reality.
Start with just this small task and you’ll be amazed at the difference it can make to your productivity and leadership style.
Of course, when it comes to achieving success in your business, you need to look at your life as a whole. It’s impossible to build a successful business if other areas of your life aren’t fulfilled.
I often refer to the Wheel of Life when working with my clients. We focus on building health, wealth, and happiness as a way of propelling their business forward much more successfully.
Health is probably the most important piece of the puzzle. After all, being the richest person in the graveyard doesn’t mean much.
With my clients, we focus on building a healthy lifestyle, better relationships, and building wealth as a whole. Not only does this help my clients get much better results in their business but it also helps them to become more fulfilled in every other area of their lives.
The I in UNITE stands for insight – gaining the knowledge you need to grow as a leader. Most leaders gain insight through experience. They take a learn-as-you-go approach and are proud of the struggles and hard knocks they’ve taken.
I believe there is a much quicker, more effective way to get the knowledge you need to drastically improve your leadership style. And that’s through mentoring and coaching.
Having a mentor effectively allows you to shortcut the process of gaining experience and gets you to a place of better leadership much more quickly.
One of my old friends, Richard Wilkins, always talks about the sausage machine. He says if you want great quality sausages, you better put good quality ingredients in the machine.
What he’s saying is whether you choose a mentor or want to gain that vital insight alone, you better be getting only the very best information to get the best results.
For me, a good-quality ingredient is audiobooks created by leaders in their fields. I tell all of my clients to download Audible and start listening to books regularly.
When you’re getting ready in the morning, commuting to work, exercising, etc., fill your mind with valuable information from people who have already got the leadership skills you’re aiming for.
Imagine driving to work and having Richard Branson in the passenger seat, sharing his wisdom with you – that’s what you get with audiobooks.
As well as audiobooks, you can use podcasts, eBooks, webinars, blogs – any source of quality information that gives you vital insights into your leadership role will make a significant difference and help your business grow.
For more in-depth information and answers to specific questions, courses are a better option. We regularly run masterclasses for our clients that teach specific skills needed in different areas of business. Workshops and training programmes like this are invaluable for building your skills quickly and giving you actionable steps to improve your leadership.
Many of my clients get the most value from my mastermind groups where they can bounce ideas off like-minded people and brainstorm the specific challenges they’re facing. This one-to-one feedback helps leaders improve their strategies almost immediately with a high level of accountability.
I’m a member of three different masterminds myself for coaching, social media, and webinars because I understand the massive value they offer.
Have you ever seen the boat race between Oxford and Cambridge? The rowers are so in sync with one another, all being lead by the Cox.
That’s what we’re aiming for with your business. True leaders know how to work as part of a team, to hold their team accountable, and pull together to reach goals.
As a leader, you need to create an environment where your staff will hold their hands up and take responsibility for mistakes but also get praised for success. Finding that balance of accountability, delegation, and feedback is key to growing your business.
Having a solid team performing the right actions over and over again is how you build discipline and grow your business through consistent action.
It’s the same for anything in life. Each day, you’ve built a discipline to brush your teeth and now you have healthy gums. It’s not something you need to think about anymore because you know you have to do it.
Having a team that is disciplined and knows how to function well as a group helps to keep your business working optimally. It’s your job as the leader to steer them in the right direction, make corrections when you get off course, and build a culture where everyone is proud to be working toward the same goals.
Finally, E is for Enrichment. When your business has achieved great things and you’ve got all the money and time you need, it’s time to look for ways to enrich your life. Think about the Wheel of Life we talked about earlier – now is the time to think about building a legacy and leaving behind a life you are happy with and proud of.
Think about someone like Bill Gates. He built an incredibly successful business and now does a lot of charity work. He has built success and now uses that success to enrich the lives of others.
So think about what you can do to enrich your life. What will you do when your business is at the level of success you’re aiming for?
Perhaps it’s spending more time with your family, travelling the world, funding a charity. What legacy will you leave behind and how will you become part of something bigger than yourself?
I’m a trustee of the Little Miracles Charity which supports disabled children and those with life-limiting diseases. I’m able to do that because I’ve grown my business to a level that has given me freedom and resources to enrich my life – a place every leader wants to get to.
No matter what stage you’re at in your leadership journey, start thinking about how you will enrich your life as the ultimate end-goal.
The Next Sector: Management
Following some of the advice, we’ve talked about here will help you take the necessary steps to be the effective leader your company needs to experience real success.
No matter how well you do in other sectors, without quality leadership, no business can sustain real growth.
In the next chapter of our guide, we’ll cover the next sector of the Bright Seven Sector Model – management. In this chapter, we’ll talk about how you put real strategies in place to help your business run like a well-oiled machine.
Watch the video below to learn even more about Leadership
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