'Upskilling my team is critical.’ Enlightened entrepreneurship

Posted by The Icehouse on 11/10/2022 10:00:00 AM

Linkedin’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report found that 94% of employees stay at a company longer if their management invested in training them.

Moreover, ‘[Through team investment]… you save time and money in the long run and can build a process to ensure that employees with the most important skills are always readily available. You have a competitive advantage over others who suddenly need a particular skill without any person on staff who possesses it and end up scrambling to find someone to plug the gap.’ (Skills Union).

‘Upskilling my team is critical.’ Enlightened entrepreneurship.

The Icehouse Leadership Development Programme (LDP) taps into successful owners' appetite to invest in their teams – for owners who “get” the value that investment provides in future-proofing the business.

LDP has been developed specifically for leaders in mid-sized, Kiwi owner-managed businesses who report directly to an owner or director or want to expand their general business, leadership and people management skills.

As well as building bench-strength in your business and developing ‘whole of business’ thinking within your leaders, there are further rewards. Jo Clayton, LDP Director and a regular contributor to the Owner Manager Programme (OMP), has seen first-hand the top-to-bottom benefits of team investment.

“For those who have done one of our programmes, such as OMP, owners develop clearer insight into what they’re trying to achieve. It enables them to apply the learnings they want to introduce into their business and to discover other styles and approaches to improve interactions and teamwork.

“Meanwhile, LDP alumni see their confidence and clarity soar around the contribution they can make to the business. They also develop a close network of support and challenge within the cohort that extends beyond the programme.” 

Upskilling investment has positive implications at the very top, particularly around succession planning, high-level business strategy, and more. Gareth Bayliss, Sales Manager at The Icehouse, explains: “It’s also about empowering people to do the work that the owners shouldn't be doing anymore – upskilling the leaders of today and tomorrow to grow their acumen and grow their skillset so they can take on more responsibility. When that happens, an owner can start to steer the ship and work on the business rather than in it, because they have trust within their team. 

“Leaders who go through the leadership programme, start to speak more like owners and develop a better understanding of the business and what’s required to help the business to grow. People within the business who speak in that manner have a positive effect,” he adds.

“If you look at it through the lens of an owner manager, this isn't a solo act, no matter how good you are,” says Liz Wotherspoon, The Icehouse’s Chief Executive.

“You can't do it by yourself. We've seen over the years, and where the origins of LDP, for example, came from, is that in order for owners to feel more confident about delegating, they need to trust that they're delegating to competence. Therefore, there has to be a focus on lifting the capability of the people that work for owners so that they can lift up and do more higher-value adding stuff.” 

Multiple research pieces indicate that magical things happen when owners invest in upskilling their teams; productivity, morale, communication and culture improve, companies experience higher staff retention rates and can attract “better” talent. Quite simply, you have a better business, and a lead on your competitors.

Collaboration helps make these organisational shifts. “When I got back [From LDP], I had notepads full of notes, and all the things I was going to change and how to prioritise it all. But I pretty much just went back to basics,” says Kaylie Hopkins, Project Delivery Manager at Energy Light Group, and LDP 32 alumni. 

“What is the team function? What are we doing? Is it working for our business now? Will it grow? Will it scale? I brought the team in on board with this, and we basically all sat together and went on a journey to review what we do, how we do it, why we do it, and how to work more as a cohesive team, rather than a group of individuals trying to do a job.”

Logan Boyce, Group Wineries Manager at Indevin, and LDP 43 alumni agrees. “… take your team on the journey with you. Tell the story, make sure that they are invested in it, make sure they contributed to it. Whether it is problem-solving, business strategy or your business values, make sure the team comes on that journey with you.” 

For information on programmes, workshops and business coaching services from The Icehouse, click here.

For more business ownership and leadership advice, check out more of our resources.

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