Categories Teamwork

Business Management – Traction and Vision

We recently told you about the change we see in Joe Forsyth in just three months. From business firefighter to business leader. It is one thing considering oneself a ‘leader’, but quite another to achieve leadership with well-structured and motivated team members actually following you, all carrying and singing proudly from the same hymn sheet.

TRACTION is the title of an amazing book (and so much more) by Gino Wickman. Joe first read it 10 years ago and picked it up again 5 years ago – and yet again 18 months ago.

If I had just one Business Management book on my shelf, it would be this.” said Joe. “I’ve got, read and thought about loads of them though but, this is the only one we really put into practice.”

Why?

Flick it over to read the summary on the back and you’ll understand:

Do you have a grip on your business of does your business have a grip on you.’

You will have heard this sort of thing many times before – you know: ‘…are you working in the business rather than on the business?’ Is the tail wagging the dog?

The cover notes go on to say:

All entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar frustrations personnel conflict, profit woes, and inadequate growth. Decisions never seem to get made or, once made, fail to be properly implemented. But there is a solution. It’s not complicated or theoretical. The Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS) is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned. More than 80,000 companies have discovered what EOS can do.

Make that 80,001, because JGF have joined the EOS / Traction success story.

EOSEntrepreneurial Operating System®

Putting theory to the test

It was a sunny early morning start at the end of March 2022 that Joe gathered his newly nominated Leadership Team in a conference room of a hotel … somewhere in Kent.

Finance, HR, Contracts and Engineering each wore their Team Leader robes well as they gathered; Joe looked on with proud, nervous anticipation; and an outside consultant sat silently (though not silent for long) as the coffee was passed round.

Then started 2 full days (and we mean FULL) literally following the textbook stages of Traction’s EOS that Joe and his extraordinary No2 had adapted to JGF’s needs. The adaptations were cleverly minute in detail, to avoid preconceptions overriding the precise EOS stages that were proven elsewhere, inspiring in the reading and so crucial, if this was to be more than a sabre-rattling away day.

Joe was no less than an inspiration himself, reviewing where we had come from, where we are and where he wanted to be – but, the latter without giving any details, facts or figures on the table.

He immediately had everybody absolutely, unequivocally on side.

In just 2 days

Two days later he, the Leadership Team and JGF had their Vision Traction Organiser; Re-structured and incentivised a new Leadership Team who have all bought into the Vision; he has his Core Value, Core Focus, 10 Year Target, Marketing Strategy, 3 Year Picture, 1 Year Plan, Rocks and Issues.

It is a privilege to watch as the operational cogs actually join together and work to start the machine on its way to delivering Joe’s dreams.

Already, as we approach the first EOS Quarterly ‘Rocks’ meeting, you can see it working.

Just two specifics we will share with you, because we are so proud of them:

…our Core Value and our Core Focus:

The Team drilled an hour’s discussion down to just 5 Core Values – 5 words:

  • Structure
  • Passion
  • Workmanship
  • Delivering
  • Integrity

…and, the following Core Focus:

Growing a Business: a culture built on training, teamwork, and achievement

‘more than just cables & cutters’

Categories Teamwork

Teamwork – in his own words

Richard Banks

After a recent Staff & Partners Team BBQ hosted by Rich, he was moved to write these amazing words, which we want to share with you now:

“We all know how important ‘team building’ and ‘team bonding days’ are. So, what better way, I thought, of hosting the JGF Electrical summer social event in this glorious summer heatwave at my humble abode.

I’m a massive believer, that when you allow, and encourage, your work colleagues to socialise and get to know each other outside of the workplace, it opens conversations that would not otherwise have happened.

So, from top tier management to our invaluable apprentices. Wives, girlfriends, and family members…. even new-borns…were all invited.

The BBQ was braced for a bashing, beers were chilled, enough food to feed a small country was prepared, more beers were chilled, a magnificent salmon was landed, and we obviously chilled more beers.

For me, it was important to, as a manager, connect with my work colleagues outside office hours, and to show that JGF value them all as people and not just work colleagues.

Needless to say, A great day/evening was had by all…..so go get socialising everyone….it’s the way forward.”

Categories Social Housing

Social Housing – Scheme Responsibilities / Fire & Carbon Alarms

At the end of last year, 23rd November to be precise, the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities issued a Press Release stating – ‘All social homes required to have smoke alarms fitted.’

The intention was that ‘people living in social housing will be safer in their homes under new rules’.

To be honest with you, we already thought that was a given but, what we take for granted as logical, natural safe management is clearly not all it seems. We (JGF) work in close association with Aico, whose fire detection / alarm systems just about corner the market.

Nerijus is just finishing an Aico installation in a Social Housing Unit in Kent

The Law

These reforms follow a commitment in the Social Housing White Paper published last year, setting out proposals for wide-ranging reforms of the social housing sector which will drive up standards.

Housing Minister, Eddie Hughes MP, emphasised that housing providers are required – by law – to install smoke alarms in all social housing, and carbon monoxide alarms must be fitted in social and private rented properties with fixed appliances such as gas boilers or fires. Also, that such alarms are to be repaired or re-fitted once they are told they are faulty.

Mr Hughes pointed out that around 20 people are killed each year in accidental carbon monoxide poisoning and many more through house fires – but we know that simple interventions can stop these needless deaths.

Fortunately, the majority of landlords are all over this – and more – caring about their tenants and ensuring safety standards are maintained. But a minority do fall short, putting their tenants in danger as a result.

Responsibilities

Landlords must now have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a qualified and competent organisation at least every 5 years. Landlords must provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants, and to their local authority if requested.Co-ordinating such a massive task like this needs organisation and impressive systems and procedures to drive it. Our dedicated Social Housing Contracts Manager and specific SH Electrical Installation & Maintenance Teams understand the problems, step around the pitfalls, and smooth over all aspects of certification. It’s a good thing as there can be up to 3 different certificates for the installation of smoke detectors alone.

If you are a Social Housing Scheme Manager reading this, you’ll find more information regarding your responsibilities and immediate action points – HERE.

Or, of course you can just call us on 01322 284300, we’ll be pleased to help.

Installation & Maintenance

Legislation with smoke detectors is a very complex area, with lots of conflicting views and it is actually difficult to fully comply on a practical level.

Getting it right can be tricky.

You probably already know that the main brand of smoke detector is Aico, they absolutely corner the market.

We (JGF) work in close association with Aico, fitting heat and carbon detectors to give the best possible protection throughout, and we mean throughout – you can’t just pay lip service to residents’ health and safety. Sticking the odd device up in the entrance hall may tick the box – just – but it does not protect the household.

The Extra Mile

There are acceptable short-term solutions to these knotty problems, but like all knots … they can come undone.  That’s why we use tamper-proof 10-year battery backup alarms. Yes, they may be more expensive but they’re a much better solution for Social Housing.

As standard, a smoke circuit is run back to the consumer unit. Most people put this onto its own MCB in that consumer unit.

We do not.

We add this to a lighting circuit to avoid somebody switching off the circuit, then forgetting to re-energise that circuit, rendering the alarms inactive and the home unprotected.

If you can’t hard-wire the smoke detectors together, you must use a radio link module to make sure each detector will set off the others within the property. This is the preferred solution, particularly as it has a 10-year life span and cost just £45 each. So, it is always worthwhile hard-wiring if you can, to avoid the additional expense at a later date.

Smart Technology

Being market leaders in fire alarm technology, you might think that a company would sit back on its laurels and enjoy their position of strength.

Not so Aico.

Spending time with them to learn more about, what we’ll call here, ‘standard alarm devices’, we are also really excited about using future, smart technology to save lives.

Their HomeLINK platform integrates and analyses sensor data to help landlords take a scalable and future-proofed approach to their IoT strategy.

OK, the first hand up in the class asked the question – what is IoT?

In this case say, in Social Housing, it is the interface that makes the difference between a device sensing smoke and making a noise, to the device sensing smoke and flagging a problem up at the Social Housing management offices, raising alarms and first responder call outs there. It’s much more than that, but that will do for now.

The four technical components of an IoT process are: sensors/devices, connectivity, data processing, and a user interface.

For Social Housing management and landlords, the properties are fitted withTemperature, Humidity and CO2 Sensors; and Connected Smoke and CO alarms.

The analytics platform displays on site in a single user-friendly dashboard, using innovative data science and software to help one system understand another.

Landlords can integrate emerging technologies with their own day­-to­-day processes in a scalable way.

The benefits are amazing – but we’ll go into that next time.

If you are a Social Housing Scheme Manager reading this and need advice, please reach out, just call us on 01322 284300.

Categories Innovation

Business Management – The K9 Revolution

Let the dog wag the tail.

In systems-starved businesses, where the tail still wags the proverbial dog, senior management miss too many opportunities for change. In the last three months, the change we see in Joe Forsyth is little short of amazing.

His tail wags happily, because he and his Leadership Team are most certainly in control.

How?

Joe, founder and Managing Director of JGF Electrical, employed two great passions of his to make the changes needed. He found them in the combination of ‘Management’ … systemised administrative procedures, and ‘Leadership’ … manifest vision, structure and teamwork.

The tools? simPRO and Traction.

simPRO is the end-to-end (‘nose to tail’ if we’re sticking with ‘dog’ analogies) project management system that supports a streamline workflow, from estimating and quoting, to scheduling and job management.

“Whether it’s reactive call-outs, Social Housing contracts, or the larger commercial project work we’re involved with, the user-friendly systems now in place support everything we do.” said Joe.

He admits that great changes don’t happen without great effort, and particularly thanks all involved in the painstaking work needed to catalogue every commercial element of a busy electrical contractor to feed the basics into the system.

Leila, you are a star.

Traction is the title of an amazing book (and so much more) by Gino Wickman. Joe first read it 10 years ago, picked it up again 5 years ago … and yet again 18 months ago.

Why?

Flick it over to read the summary on the back and you’ll understand:

Do you have a grip on your business of does your business have a grip on you.’

You will have heard this sort of thing many times before – you know ‘…are you working IN the business rather than ON the business?’

Is the tail wagging the dog? Or the dog now wagging the tail? (Oh yeah!).

The cover notes go on to say:

All entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar frustrations: personnel conflict, profit woes, and inadequate growth. Decisions never seem to get made or, once made, fail to be properly implemented.

But, there is a solution.

It’s not complicated or theoretical. The Entrepreneurial Operating System® is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned. More than 80,000 companies have discovered what EOS can do.

Make that 80,001, because JGF have joined the EOS / Traction success story.

We will continue this success story shortly…

Categories Mental Health, Sole owner

Loneliness: The curse of the Owner Manager

One in four adults feel lonely some or all of the time. There’s no single cause and there’s no one solution. After all, we’re all different! But, the longer we feel lonely, the more we are at risk of mental health problems. Some people are also at higher risk of feeling lonely than others.

So says the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) on its Mental Health Awareness Week website.

As owner, manager, chief electrical engineer, trainer, mentor, business developer and head bottle-washer; life is pretty busy. But, doing it totally on my own, like so many SME owner managers, it’s not just busy, but it’s lonely.

Before taking you through my own 3 Best Ways to Beat Isolation, let me first share 3 ways to help other sufferers as published by the MHF:

How to support other people who are feeling lonely

1. Don’t judge or stigmatiseembrace

It’s important not to judge or stigmatise people who feel lonely. Stigma around loneliness is a huge barrier to the kind of open and genuine conversations that can help. It’s more important to be aware of just how common loneliness is. It’s a normal feeling that all of us are likely to experience at some time in our lives. Telling other people that their poor mental health is the reason why they are feeling lonely is really not helpful.

2. Try to make groups welcoming to other people

It can be difficult for people who are feeling lonely to join a group like a club. This might be because people are shy or feel nervous about existing relationships in the group which they don’t feel part of. It’s important to be aware of this and try to make groups be as welcoming as possible to newcomers. Flexibility around things like how often people attend is also important.

3. Try to listen and show understanding

A great way to help a friend, colleague or family member is simply to listen. People who have experienced loneliness relate how they valued friends who really considered what they might enjoy and were even willing to join them in some shared activities. Having an understanding and compassionate approach, and not ignoring the person’s experience, will help them to feel heard and understood.